Police in Ho Chi Minh City have launched an investigation into a suspected case of methanol poisoning that occurred at a local restaurant, affecting eight young people, of whom two died, officers said on Saturday.
Among the eight victims, six are employees of Mr Bao Restaurant in Thu Duc City, including a woman, while the other two are outsiders, both female, local police said.
These victims, aged 19 to 24, opened a party at the restaurant late on Wednesday evening, after the facility closed, N.D.B., the owner, reported on Saturday.
They ate food bought from outside and drank a can of five liters of alcohol available at the restaurant during the feast which ended at 4:00 am the next morning.
B. said his restaurant, which started operations on June 1, recently bought five 5-liter cans of bottled water from a supplier but one of them was later found containing alcohol.
This can had been kept in the eatery's storage until it was consumed at the party, B. said, adding that the victims had mixed the alcohol with soft drinks in red color before drinking.
Thu Duc police have asked the restaurateur to provide them with the address of the water supplier and documents related to the delivery of the said five cans.
Earlier on Thursday afternoon, one of the six employees, aged 24, was found dead at a rented room in Thu Duc after showing signs of fatigue and cyanosis, police informed B. the same day.
One day later, the five others, after suffering serious health conditions, were taken to Thu Duc-based Le Van Viet General Hospital for examination, B. said.
One of them died at the hospital later the same day while the remainders were transferred to Gia Dinh People's Hospital in Binh Thanh District for further treatment.
Friday also saw the last two victims admitted to Thu Duc General Hospital with symptoms of vomiting, fatigue, severe headache, and cyanotic lips.
Tests by the hospitals showed that the blood methanol levels of the patients ranged from 1.34 mg/dL to 246.46 mg/dL.
Methanol, commonly known as industrial alcohol, is used in paints or as solvents among different uses, but this substance is extremely toxic to the body, doctors said.
Consuming methanol is detrimental to the heart, brain, and respiratory system while it also causes kidney failure, cardiovascular collapse, and blindness, they warned.
The restaurant, which has a business registration certificate but has yet to obtain a certificate of eligibility for food safety, shut down by itself after the incident.
Local police are continuing their investigation into the suspected methanol poisoning case.
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