Vietnam probes death of US, Canadian tourists

Vietnamese authorities are investigating the mysterious deaths of two tourists from the United States and Canada who stayed in the same guesthouse, official media reported Monday.

American Karin Joy Bowerman, 27, and Canadian Cathy Huynh, 26, died last week at a hospital in southern Nha Trang province, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

Bowerman died on July 30 after suffering "a mysterious illness" and respiratory failure, while Huynh died two days later after developing similar symptoms and suffering a cardiac arrest, the report said.

The pair, who had shared a room in a guesthouse on Nguyen Thien Thuat street in Nha Trang -- a popular backpacker area in the seaside resort -- might have "drunk too much wine" which led to their deaths, a police investigator told the paper.

The family of Huynh, a Canadian of Vietnamese descent, disputed this account, the report said, adding that police are waiting for the results of autopsy tests to establish the cause of death.

"She died because she did not receive proper medical care despite the fact that she had been admitted to the hospital 12 hours before her death," Huynh's mother, Huynh Thi Huong, told Tuoi Tre.

The family have set up an appeal to raise money to repatriate Huynh's body to Canada for a funeral, the report said.

Before their trip to Vietnam, the two women had both taught English at a university in South Korea, it added.

In June two Canadian sisters were found dead in their hotel room on a popular resort island in Thailand, showing signs of having suffered an extreme toxic reaction. The exact cause of their deaths remains unknown.

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