Claims by young British tourists that they were massively poisoned by methanol-laced alcohol and were hospitalized are “fake news” authorities on the island of Zakynthos (Zante) told Greek media on Monday. Although aware of some problems with tourism on the island, locals speak of defamation attempts.
“This is a lie, nobody was hospitalized, nobody was poisoned” Zakynthos Mayor Pavlos Kolokotsas told private STAR TV on Monday. “The more we talk about it, the more we harm our tourism and our Greece,” he added.
Also the owner of local news website imerazante.gr, Vassilis Moutsios, confirmed that the was no police or hospital records confirming the hospitalization of 17 people.
“We contacted the Police director on the island and the Police headquarters of the Ionian islands and they categorically denied they were aware of such an incident. Similar was the statement from the general hospital of Zakynthos,” Moutsios said.
Several British media reported of a group of 17 UK nationals aged 17-18 were hospitalized on the island after drinking drinks laced with toxic methanol.
“A group of 17 British teens were taken to hospital after drinking suspected bootleg booze containing deadly chemical methanol. The boys, who are all 17 and 18, claim to have fallen ill after visiting a string of bars in Greek party island Zante’s Laganas resort — despite some of them having just three drinks,” wrote among others thesun on Saturday.
Cole Brunton, 18, who was one of 17 out of a party 20 to spend the night in hospital, said: “It was going to be the best week of our lives but it nearly ended terribly.”
“I can’t put into words how angry I feel that someone is prepared to put lives at risk to make a few quid.”
Describing their horror experience, the teenagers, also submitted at least one picture to prove they were hospitalized.
The teenagers were former pupils from a school in Northumberland who flew to Zakynthos to celebrate leaving school. They were on the island on July 19, while the incident occurred on the second day of their vacations.
Their claims seems also a bit of conflicting.
Cole said: “Everyone was drinking different stuff. I had six vodkas, some of the lads had beer, a few had cocktails.”
The group then went to three other bars — but after the third one some of the boys started to feel ill.
Cole said: “Some of the lads went back to the hotel as they felt a bit rough. One was sick on the way home.
He only had three drinks. I stayed out but didn’t have any more to drink. I got back to the hotel at midnight.”
The Sun wrote further that its own investigation found “positive” traces of the highly toxic form of alcohol — normally used to make antifreeze — in bootleg vodka sold in one of the Laganas’ bars.
The Sun, DailyMail and other British media make reference to the case of a 20-year-old British tourist who suffered kidney collapse and went blind after consuming toxic drinks in Laganas in 2016.
Whether the claim is true or not, local authorities were alerted and police conducted intensive controls in bars and restaurants over the weekend. 300 liters of suspected liquor were confiscated, local media reported on Monday.
In one case, the liquor was found in 60 5-liter plastic containers with labels ‘vodka”, “rum”, “gin” and other drinks.
In a second case, liquor was found in two 5-liter containers with the same labels.
Samples from the confiscated liquor were sent for analysis to investigate whether the alcohol was adulterated.
Police described the seizure as a significant and effective move against alcohol smuggling and adulteration of drinks.”
Meanwhile, some Greeks on social media wonder why it is always British tourists suffering while on vacation in Greece and not other nationalities like the French, the Dutch, the Germans, the Americans and so on.