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Beware in Bali. Backpacker blinded by methanol cocktail

on 04/08/12 at 9:34 am

Booze News

Emergency doctors are warning about the dangers of tainted cocktails in South-East Asia after a 19-year-old American woman was left with permanent visual impairment after consuming multiple drinks containing methanol.

The backpacker drank eight to 10 complementary cocktails at two Bali bars and arrived in New Zealand 35 hours later suffering shortness of breath and impaired vision.

She had consumed a local drink known as Arrack, mixed with fruit juice.

The teenager was treated at Christchurch Hospital emergency department for methanol poisoning but her vision continued to deteriorate over the next four weeks.


The case follows a similar incident last year in which a 25-year-old Australian nurse suffered brain damage and kidney failure after drinking Arrack laced with methanol, a toxic substance found in fuel, solvents and anti-freeze products.

When consumed, methanol can cause blindness, coma and death.

In 2009, 25 tourists died after drinking a contaminated batch of Arrack in Bali.