963 British tourists with food-poisoning in DR compensated over £5.5 million
caribbean360.com Almost a thousand British tourists stricken with food-poisoning while vacationing at the Bahia Principe resort in 2007 have been compensated to the tune of over £5.5 million. 

On Wednesday, tour operators First Choice agreed a £1.9 million settlement of claims brought by over 400 holidaymakers, including 60 children, who stayed at the hotel in the Dominican Republic in 2007.

The agreement is the latest in a number of settlements previously reached with tour operators Thomas Cook, Thomson, and My Travel with respect to hundreds of other cases of vacationers who claimed to have been afflicted by severe gastric illnesses including Salmonella, Campylobacter and Shigella.

According to solicitors for the claimants, Irwin Mitchell, weddings, honeymoons, birthdays and other celebrations were ruined by food-poisoning outbreaks, which at their height reportedly saw a fleet of ambulances transporting sick guests to hospital daily.

The damages paid by the tour operators in 963 cases relating to 2007 now exceed £5.5 million, the law firm was quoted as saying, adding that it has also pursued other claims relating to guests at the same hotel between 1997 and 2012.

Guests who stayed at the Bahia Principe in 2007 were quoted in Britain’s Daily Mail as telling lawyers of the “awful” conditions, including:

Undercooked food, left uncovered for many hours and covered with flies

Some of the food appeared to be re-used and some food was stored or served at the wrong temperature

Dogs, birds and mice were seen in the dining area 

Cockroaches and ants were seen in bedrooms and bathrooms

Toilets were often blocked, did not flush or on occasion backed up when flushed, overflowing and flooding sewage into bathrooms

A smell of sewage, urine and vomit in and around the hotel.

Some holidaymakers reportedly described the hotel as being like a “casualty ward,” while others are said to have witnessed a waiter vomiting in reception and observed other staff attending the doctor for treatment.

The health issues at the time of the 2007 outbreak were reportedly so bad that one plane flying British passengers home was quarantined at Gatwick. Another at the same airport and one landing at Manchester were boarded by doctors as guests needed treatment before they could disembark.

Commenting on the settlement, Clive Garner, a partner and head of the International Travel Law team at Irwin Mitchell, was quoted as saying: “We are delighted for our clients that they have now received a fair settlement from the tour operators after enduring such terrible times at the Bahia Principe.“The long history of guests suffering illness at this hotel makes grim reading. There have been problems at the hotel on and off for 10 years in the lead up to the 2007 outbreak, and we are still receiving complaints from guests five years after that dreadful outbreak.

“We remain very concerned that hotels and tour operators have not learned vital lessons and that all too often holidaymakers suffer illness, sometimes with life changing consequences due to inadequate health and hygiene standards.

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Go back | Date: 11 Aug 2013
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