Dominican Republic deaths: 10th US tourist dies on vacation

Lily Puckett

A New York man holidaying in the Dominican Republic died earlier this month, a US State Department official has confimed. He’s the 10th American tourist to have died during or after their time in the country in the last year.

The man was identified as Vittorio Caruso, a 56-year-old man from Long Island, New York. His sister-in-law, Lisa Maria Caruso, confirmed to CNN’s News 12 Long Island that Mr Caurso died after suffering respiratory distress, and a possible heart attack, while on vacation there.

Ms Caruso says her brother-in-law died in while still abroad. He'd been "enjoying part of his retirement," according to family.

She told News 12 the family received a phone saying he was sick, and then, just minutes later, a phone call reporting that he’d died.

The Dominican Republic National Police confirmed that he died at a hospital in Santo Domingo.

Police say he’d been receiving medical attention since June 11. His death was confirmed on June 17. A post-mortem examination is pending.

The FBI is currently investigating the American deaths associated with the Dominican Republic, most of which have been tied to tourists staying at hotels and resorts.

Local authorities have reportedly been looking into “bootleg” alcohol as a possible cause. The tainted alcohol is tied to swim-up pool bars and mini-bars within resorts, both of which were reportedly used by people who died or became ill.

This weekend, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, where a number of illnesses and two of the 10 reported deaths took place, announced that it would remove liquor dispenses from individual hotel rooms.