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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Noelene and Yvana Bischoff's mysterious deaths in Bali

Noelene Bischoff and her daughter Yvana were very close, in fact they adored each other, so it was no surprise when they decided to take a dream 15 day holiday together in beautiful Bali over the school holidays. 

Yvana was all set to start high school, and Noelene would return to nursing at the Caloundra Hospital.  But just one day into their holiday adventure, their  family back home on the Gold Coast were told the tragic news that both mother and daughter had died.

Noelene's brother Malcolm Bischoff said yesterday the family was sceptical about information provided by Indonesian officials and he doesn't believe a food allergy or poisoning is responsible.  "I wasn't aware of any food allergies with Noelene or Yvana, and my mother, who has lived with them permanently for the last nine years wasn't aware of any food allergies."  He also knew that his sister Noelene loved seafood.

Noelene's sister Desley Bowe and mother Jean Bischoff

"I actually listened to an interview with the head chef at the restaurant from the hotel and he assured everyone that their food was fine" he said. "Without a postmortem, you'd be fairly game to suggest something like that."

Dewa Malen restaurant

On Friday at 1pm, the pair lunched at Warung Dewa Malen restaurant in Gianyar, near Ubud.  They were happy and laughed and joked with each other.  Restaurant Supervisor Wayan Bagia said "They asked for fritto misto, which has calamari, tuna and prawns, and comes with French fries, another dish of fried calamari and creme caramel for desert."  There were 111 lunch guests that day, some of whom ate the same thing, he said, but no one complained of food poisoning.

Head chef Dewa Seken was on duty that day and cooked the meals. He said the tuna was delivered fresh from a Denpassar supplier and that he himself had eaten it.  The same tuna was used in seafood baskets, curried fish, tuna Siciliana and a Balinese fish dish.

Supervisor of Dewa Malen Wayan Bagia (L) and chef Dewa Seken

Later that day, the pair returned to their hotel, the Padang Bai Beach Resort in Karangasem on the south-east coast and ate chicken curry, vegetarian pizza, and mahi mahi fish at the resort's Buddah Bar.  Manager Giovanni Bareto said he had eaten the food and so had the staff, all with no complaints. 

But there was another family at the restaurant that night who said they thought Noelene looked tired and sick and by 1pm both mother and daughter were violently ill.


By the time an ambulance arrived, Noelene had collapsed and died on arrival at a local medical clinic.  Yvana was treated at the same clinic at first but was taken by ambulance to a better equipped medical facility near Kuta.  She died shortly after.  Noelene's distraught brother said "Her airway was closed, it was so swollen, they couldn't even put a tract in."

Health professional Mr Puta Ardana said he suspected an allergic reaction.  "She was conscious and talking, she told us she felt panicked because something was in her throat and breathing was very uncomfortable. She looked very panicked when it was difficult to breath, even though we gave her a high concentration of oxygen" he said. 

I hope the family get their loved ones home as soon as possible so doctors can find out what really happened.  If the Indonesians insist on doing the autopsies in Bali, we may never know.