Deadly holiday cocktail

A 25-YEAR-OLD nurse has suffered brain damage and kidney failure after she unknowingly drank a cocktail laced with methanol on the final night of her Indonesian island holiday.

Jamie Johnston has spent the past three weeks in intensive care units in Bali and Darwin hospitals after ordering a jug of arak - a rice wine popular throughout south-east Asia - mixed with fruit juice to share with her mother at the Happy Cafe restaurant in Lombok.

Arak is traditionally made from fermented rice, palm sap and other base ingredients and its strong alcohol content makes it popular with tourists.

A batch contaminated with methanol - a toxic chemical compound often used as an anti-freeze or in paint - and sold in Bali in 2009 killed 25 people, including a British national, an Irish woman, a Dutch man and an American woman. Travel advice issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs for Indonesia contains a warning that foreigners have died after ''consuming brand name alcohol or local spirits adulterated with harmful substances''.

Ms Johnston's mother, Lyn, told The Sydney Morning Herald test results had shown her daughter suffered methanol toxicity from the drink on September 20 at a restaurant highly recommended to them by locals. After being taken off the plane in Bali in unbearable pain, the 25-year-old from Newcastle became unconscious and has suffered brain scarring and renal failure and has been left unable to move or talk properly since.

Read more on the Brisbane Times
 


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