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Dominican Republic graduation trip cut short when members of group become ‘violently ill’ during stay at same hotel where American tourists died

Several members of a group on a graduation trip to the Dominican Republic reportedly became violently ill shortly after their arrival to the Caribbean tourist spot.

Liz McLaughlin and her daughter were reportedly among a group of graduating seniors from Deer Creek High School and their parents who traveled together to the Dominican Republic earlier this month. McLaughlin told News on 6 that the group arrived on June 8, a Saturday, and were staying at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, where two American tourists were staying in recent months when they died suddenly.

According to local reports, both McLaughlin’s daughter Libby and recent graduate Bennett Hill were among about half a dozen people on the trip who became ill after eating at a Japanese restaurant on the resort property.

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“I just woke up, and my stomach was cramping and I was sweating,” Hill told KOCO. “I was freezing.”

Regarding her daughter’s condition and the other illnesses, McLaughlin told News on 6: “We just don’t know what is happening. Is it the water? Is it the ice? Is it the food? Is it the food handling? Is it the pesticides? We have no idea what’s going on.”

Six or seven travelers appear to have gotten sick out of a group of several dozen — multiple reports cite the number of travelers to be between 40 and 75 people. Hill told KOCO that those who fell ill were taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment.

“We’ve been hooked up to IVs since we first got here with antibiotics, just getting hydrated,” Hill told the news outlet last week. “Anti-nausea medicine, all this stuff because we were just so dehydrated.”

Deer Creek Public Schools Superintendent Ranet Tippens told the Oklahoman that most of those who had gone on the trip have since returned to Oklahoma.

At least six American tourists have died mysteriously while on vacation in the Dominican Republic in recent months. In April, a 67-year-old California man reportedly became ill and eventually died after he took a drink of scotch from the minibar at the Hard Rock in Punta Cana. Another man, 45, died there earlier this year while visiting the resort on an anniversary trip with his wife and son. That man reportedly died of a heart attack and pulmonary edema, but his wife is now questioning the circumstances of his death.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana gave a statement to the New York Post addressing the illnesses on the graduation trip.

“Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is disappointed regarding a recent situation in which a group of guests became ill after dining at one of our twelve venues,” the statement reads. “As the safety and health of our guests is now, and has always been our highest priority, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is regretful that we did not achieve the extremely high standards we set for ourselves.”

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[Feature image: Bennett Hill/Facebook; Pixabay]