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Zakynthos: British tourist, 20, suffered kidney collapse & blindness, after allegedly consuming spike drinks

A young British tourist got blinded and suffered kidney failure after she allegedly got poisoned form the consumption of spiked drinks. The 20-year-old  had enjoyed a couple of drinks in the famous resort of Laganas on the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea.

uk tourist

The young woman, Hannah Powell, reportedly collapsed a week ago and she is still hospitalized in the city of Patras, she is undergoing tests and treatment, and is on dialysis machine.

On her bedside are her anxious parents who flew out from Middlesbrough in UK.

Local media initially reported that she had suffered a methanol poisoning which occurs when highly toxic methanol is form of cheap alcohol is mixed to drinks and it often leads to blindness. Methanol is a nondrinking type of alcohol used for industrial and automotive purposes for de-icing and antifreeze purposes.

State broadcaster ERT said on Saturday that “authorities were searching for the bar or bars where the tourist had the drinks”. There were no other similar incidents on the in the area of Laganas or on the island though. On a report on Sunday, ERT cast doubt that the reason for the collapse was spiked drinks.

Also the chief of the Kidney Clinic at the University Hospital in Patras said “the problem was much more serious than a plain methanol poisoning.”

According to UK’s Daily Mail, the young woman had enjoyed a couple of drinks with friends, that she was “be feeling normal, slept for 48 hours and woke up unable to see.”

After the drinks, she had also driven jet-ski before falling into deep sleep and wake up with massive stomach pains and blindness.

Doctors on Zakynthos immediately transferred her to the hospital in the Peloponnese. It is understood she has made significant progress, however it was uncertain whether kidney function or her sight would be restore to normal.

The parents want to take their daughter to UK but the hospital has not approved her release yet. Doctors are awaiting to see whether the blindness is temporary or permanent.

Speaking to UK media, her mother said that the young woman hasn’t recovered and that all she can see was “some shapes.”

“The police came to talk to us and have done a report. They think it could be methanol that is responsible but the investigation is ongoing.” the mother added.

According to Patras media,, the family is considering legal measures.

It is not a secret that some irresponsible bar owners in Greece occasionally offer cheap alcohol drinks, – “bomb drinks” as we call them – that normally cause a very heavy headache and some gastroenterological problems.

But I think last time I heard of a case of a possible “methanol poisoning” was a couple of years from Northern Greece and with regards of a person who had just come from Turkey.

PS But I remember of reports in the past, of methanol poisoning cases in India, where whole village populations would go blind or even die after a wedding….

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  1. I know drinks in Greek bars are dodgy but not to the point of blindness!

    • Home-brewed spirits often contain methanol through faulty distillation processes. Low levels of methanol are likely to cause minor brain damage, but high levels lead to blindness and serious brain damage. many of the fake whiskies, along with other illegal spirits, sold in Greece have been identified over the last decade and more as containing methanol. I never drink anything other than beer or bottled wine in bars in Greece, for precisely this reason.

  2. Strange. I’ve never had a problem here with drinks…