Kildare woman died days after drinking strong local wine in Bali, inquest told

Roisin Burke

Fiona Dillon

A 21-YEAR-OLD Kildare woman who became seriously ill and died in Bali had two days previously drank a locally brewed alcoholic drink that has made several other tourists very sick.

Roisin Burke, from Leixlip, County Kildare, died suddenly on Tuesday May 21, 2011, while on holidays with friends.

Her brother, Brian Burke, told the Coroners Court today that two days prior to her passing Roisin and a group of friends drank a locally brewed alcoholic drink known as ‘Arak wine’ at a bar in Lambok, Bali.

The following day Roisin and a friend reported feeling unwell but it was not until the next day that their symptoms became serious.

That day, the girls called a doctor to their apartment who administered a medicine.

Both girls initially reported relief form their symptoms but this proved to be only temporary and later in the day Roisin began to have convulsions.

Medics were unable to revive Roisin.

The other girl was admitted to hospital and, fortunately, made a full recovery within a week or so.

Brian said it had come to the family’s attention that a number of tourists in the Bali Gili Islands area have been victims of “methanol poisoning due to the unregulated nature of the local brewing industry, where it is common practice to add methanol to in particular Arak wine”

He added they had come across one case in particular of an Australian woman who became seriously ill with confirmed methanol poisoning after drinking Arak in in Lambok. This case occurred only five months after Roisin’s death.

Roisin had been working in Jakarta in Indonesia teaching English at the time of her death and went to Bali on holiday with friends.

Roisin’s mother Nora told the court that she had received a text message from her daughter two hours before she died saying that she was running a high fever. Nora said her daughter was very healthy and the first she heard that her daughter was dead was when Gardai in Leixlip rang her in work

Roisin is survived by her mother Nora, sister Cara and brothers Brian and John.

The Coroner’s Court heard that a post-mortem examination was not carried out in Bali.

An autopsy was performed in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, eight days after her death. However, Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that doing an autopsy after embalming limits information.

He said “At the moment as things stand we don’t have a clear cause of death.”

Mr Farrell said that would adjourn the inquest to take evidence from witnesses.

The inquest was adjourned until February 8 next year.

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