Liam Davies. Photo supplied
A Kiwi teenager has died after drinking a methanol-laced
drink while celebrating New Year in Indonesia - and his
grandfather says the death is "murder, really".
Taranaki-born Liam Davies was on the island of Lombok with
friends, and became ill on January 1.
After several days in a local hospital, he was flown to Perth
for specialist treatment, but died yesterday.
Liam's death has sparked warnings from health experts for
Kiwi travellers to be wary.
His grandfather, Terry Prentice, told the New Zealand Herald
news of the 19-year-old's death was a terrible shock.
"We're not doing very well. It's not every day you lose a
grandchild," he said.
"He was a good kid, a great kid. He was good to have around,
a joy to be around.
"I think people need to be aware if they're going to go away
and drink spirits ... I wouldn't trust them. I'm not too keen
on this at all. It's murder, really."
Liam went to a New Year party, and fell ill the following
He was taken to a local hospital, where it was established he
had been poisoned by a methanol-laced drink.
Methanol is a toxic chemical sometimes added to cheap drinks
to make them more alcoholic.
Effects of methanol poisoning include vomiting, gastric pain,
liver failure, comas and sometimes blindness and death.
After consultation with Australian specialists, Liam was
airlifted last Thursday from Denpasar in Bali to Sir Charles
Gairdner Hospital in Perth - where he had been living with
his parents, Lhani and Tim, and two brothers since he was
about 6 - and put on life support.
Mr Prentice said Liam was an apprentice in the building
industry and had had a bright future.
He was also a talented sportsman who had been in the
Australian under-18 lacrosse team.
Mr Prentice wanted something done to prevent more deaths.
"But that will never happen; it's pie in the sky. I feel like
going across there and doing something myself ... especially
after the other two - the footy player and the nurse who were
Liam is the second New Zealander to die from methanol
poisoning in Indonesia in five months.
In September, former Dunedin man Michael Denton, 30, died in
Bali while on a trip with his Perth rugby team after
consuming arak, a potent local drink, which was thought to
have been methanol-contaminated.
His inquest was held in Dunedin, and coroner David Crerar
said foreign ministries should warn citizens about the
dangers of drinking arak, which also blinded an 18-year-old
Australian school leaver in Bali last month.
Three days before Mr Denton's death, Sydney nurse Jamie
Johnston, 26, collapsed in Bali after drinking a cocktail
spiked with methanol.
She had brain damage and kidney failure, but survived.
Mr Prentice urged holidaymakers to think twice before
touching any locally brewed alcoholic drinks in countries
such as Indonesia.
"Apparently the beer's okay, but if you're going to drink
spirits, buy your own at the duty-free shop and stick with
Lhani and Tim Davies issued a statement after Liam's death,
urging people to be careful when drinking overseas.
It is understood the family were at Liam's side when he died.
"We would like to make people aware of the risks associated
with consuming locally brewed drinks where you cannot be
certain of the quality," the grieving parents said.
- - Anna Leask