Oklahoma High School Graduates Get Sick in the Dominican Republic During Senior Trip

At least six high school graduates from Edmond, Oklahoma, fell ill while visiting the Dominican Republic earlier this month.

According to The Oklahoman, a group of about 75 people stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, where two American tourists died after falling ill.

On June 11, about six members of the group got sick after having dinner at the same restaurant, Deer Creek Public Schools Superintendent Ranet Tippens told The Oklahoman. Most of the travelers did not fall ill, and most of them are back in the U.S.

The symptoms appeared to be similar to some of the other publicized cases of tourists who have become sick in the Dominican Republic.

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

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

The news of these illnesses comes one day after 47 Jimmy Buffett fans fell ill at a nearby hotel.

The U.S. State Department has confirmed it is investigating the deaths of at least six American tourists in the Dominican Republic since the summer of 2018. Some of them passed away in what appear to be bizarre — and similar — circumstances. The agencies are not yet releasing further details about the investigations.

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On May 30, 2019, engaged couple Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, were found dead in their hotel room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana hotel, according to a statement released by the hotel. The Dominican Republic National Police announced that an autopsy found the couple had respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, a buildup of fluid in the lungs. Day also reportedly suffered cerebral edema.

Pennsylvania native Yvette Monique Sport, 51, had just arrived at the Bahia Príncipe resort in Punta Cana — which is owned by the same parent company as the one in La Romana — when she died in June 2018. Though her death was initially ruled a heart attack, her cause of death is being investigated again.

David Harrison, 45, was celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife and 12-year-old son when he died of a heart attack at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana in July of 2018.

On May 25 of this year, Pennsylvania psychotherapist Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, collapsed shortly after mixing a drink from the minibar in the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville in La Romana, where she was celebrating her ninth wedding anniversary. (The hotel is part of the same resort as Grand Bahia Principe La Romana.) According to her autopsy, she died of a heart attack that caused respiratory failure and fluid accumulation in her lungs.

In April 2019, Robert Bell Wallace, 67, died while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana for his stepson’s wedding. His niece, Chloe Arnold, told Fox News that he became ill after having a drink from his hotel room’s minibar.

Robin Bernstein, the ambassador of the United States to the Dominican Republic, told Univision these high-profile incidents should not be considered anything more than isolated cases. “We have 2.7 million Americans who come to the country and the statistics is that this is a very … unique event,” Bernstein said in a statement. “They come to visit the beautiful beaches and enjoy the great culture. Unfortunately sometimes those things happen to people.”

The FBI and CDC did not immediately return PEOPLE’s calls for comment about the latest illnesses.

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