BROADCAST DATE : Jan 25, 2013

Death in Paradise

It's a story that has become tragically familiar: travellers, often young and healthy, visit sun splashed tourist destinations and fall ill and suddenly die. Their grieving families are left with an excruciating question - why did it happen? On this week's fifth estate, Mark Kelley and Linden MacIntyre investigate two stories of mysterious deaths in paradise, and the questions and contradictions that surround them.

In May of 2012, two sisters from a small town in Quebec set out on the trip of a lifetime to Thailand. Noémi and Audrey Bélanger are young, healthy and bound for the beaches and bars of popular Koh Phi Phi Island. They keep their parents up to date on their adventures with daily emails - but after their first night on the island, the emails stop. Days later, the sisters are found lifeless in their hotel room.

Thai authorities are quick to speculate on what might have happened, including drugs, and food poisoning. There are even suspicions about a toxic cocktail laced with a chemical used in mosquito repellant. But Mark Kelley learns the Bélanger sisters are just the latest victims in a string of unexplained tourist deaths in the area, and examines a new theory - fatal exposure to toxic pesticide sprays used in hotels to control bedbugs.

Then, just six weeks after the death of the Bélanger sisters, a Canadian woman and her American friend take a break from teaching in South Korea to visit the beaches of Vietnam, but soon become ill and wind up in hospital fighting for their lives. They both die within days of each other. Linden MacIntyre consults pathologists, toxicologists and other specialists about what might have killed the two best friends ... and their families press authorities to try to get a final answer in a country where bad news about the death of tourists is never welcome.