High school graduates fall ill at Dominican Republic resort linked to American deaths

Lily Puckett

Recent high school graduates from Oklahoma have fallen ill while staying at the same resort in the Dominican Republic where at least three Americans have died this year.

Several members of a group of former students of Deer Creek High School in Edmond, Oklahoma became unwell last week while on a trip celebrating their graduation, members of the group told The Oklahoman on Monday.

The group of about 75 former students and their chaperones were staying at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, where three Americans died in April and May.

At other resorts across the Dominican Republic, a total of eight Americans have died since June 2018, with several deaths involving drinking from their resorts mini bars. Several others have also become sick while staying at a string of the country’s resorts.

The FBI is currently investigating the deaths.

No deaths have been reported in the latest incident, but at least six people fell ill. They reported chills and intense nausea, followed by dangerous levels of dehydration.

The students, who are believed to have visited the Hard Rock’s in-house restaurant, were taken to a local hospital.

The majority of those on the trip have returned home. The Independent has reached out to confirm whether or not the sick students have returned to the US.

“The one parent that I had spoken to said that … the majority did just fine and those that became ill ate at the same restaurant,” Deer Creek Public Schools Superintendent Ranet Tippens said of the incident, which she has been monitoring.

Representatives from the Hard Rock responded to the incidents in Facebook comments, saying the hotel follows "internationally recognised regulations regarding guest health, sanitation and security.”

The Independent has reached out to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for more information.