Methanol poisoning on Bali, Lombok, Gili Trawangan: Liam Davies …

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An Australian traveller falls ill to suspected methanol poisoning on ‘What Really Happens in Bali. Courtesy Channel Seven

Liam Davies died after his vodka was treated with methanol in 2012. Dozens of others have followed. Picture: Facebook

WHEN Liam Davies walked into a 24-hour beachfront bar a day before New Year’s Eve in 2012, he asked a elementary though critical question.

He was lied to and that distortion cost a 19-year-old his life.

Behind a bar during Rudy’s Pub and Restaurant on a lifelike Indonesian traveller island of Gili Trawangan, there were dozens of bottles of spirits Liam didn’t recognise. There was a tiny preference he knew from home.

He forked to a Smirnoff and asked if it contained genuine alien spirits. He was told that it did but, not wanting to take any chances, he insisted a new bottle be non-stop for him and his mates.

The trio drank 3 vodkas with orange and went to bed early. What they didn’t know was that instead of vodka they were celebration arak, a locally-brewed suggestion laced with lethal methanol.

Within 3 days, Liam would be mind upheld and his relatives would be forced to make a agonising preference to spin off his life support.

It’s been some-more than 3 years given a Perth teen died from what he drank in that bar. His father says a risk for other tourists is as good as ever.

“I consider Australians are some-more wakeful now though European tourists visiting that segment have no idea,” Tim Davies told

“Is it safer these days? we don’t consider so.”


Holiday-makers on Gili Trawangan, where Liam Davies died in 2012 from methanol poisoning.

Holiday-makers on Gili Trawangan, where Liam Davies died in 2012 from methanol poisoning.Source:News Limited

When Liam woke on New Year’s Eve, he and a crony common a following symptoms: a headache, confused prophesy and nausea.

They both concluded it was an impassioned earthy response given how small they’d drank a night before.

That night they returned to Rudy’s, still unknowingly that a poisonous part was effectively embalming them from a inside out.

Liam was found convulsing on a building of a friend’s unit a morning after. He was rushed to sanatorium though a disaster to diagnose methanol poisoning left him during a forgiveness of a toxin.

He was flown to Perth where he died a brief time later, surrounded by family. His crony was a propitious one.

Since then, Liam’s relatives have dedicated their lives to creation certain no other family goes by what they’ve been through. They’ve started a gift in his honour though a physique count continues to raise up, notwithstanding their best efforts.

Since 2010, there have been dozens of poisoning deaths in Indonesia blamed on methanol.

Among a victims are New Zealand-born rugby actor Mike Denton (“Jungle Juice”), British backpacker Cheznye Emmons (fake gin), Irish traveller Roisin Burke (arak) and Swede Johan Lundin (Mohito).

Others who were tainted though transient with their lives embody Australians Jamie Johnston, who says a methanol-laced cocktail “ruined my life”, integrate Colin and Cathryn Williams, who drank vodka and orange cocktails that finished them sick, Tess Mettam, who drank a “blaster” cocktail and went temporarily blind and Jen Neilsen, who had half her pancreas private and was grieving in a Bali sanatorium confronting a $50,000 medical check final month.

The Australian Medical Association voiced renewed concerns in Jul over a series of methanol-related poisonings in Indonesia. It’s a fact that creates Liam’s father angry.

He’s frustrated, he says, that notwithstanding some progress, tawdry ethanol continues to find a approach into a market.


A staff member during Rudy's Pub and Restaurant on Gili Trawangan where Perth teen Liam Davies died after celebration methanol-laced vodka in December, 2012.

A staff member during Rudy’s Pub and Restaurant on Gili Trawangan where Perth teen Liam Davies died after celebration methanol-laced vodka in December, 2012.Source:Supplied

In a plateau around Bali, internal villagers make income by flooding bars and pubs with their possess special brew.

The direct is driven by parched tourists though there are other factors during play, namely Indonesia’s skyrocketing import taxes. Because it’s so costly to have a genuine thing brought in to Bali, locals make their own.

“There’s a whole bootleg industry, this tawdry industry, that flourishes,” Mr Davies said.

“Traders buy arak from villagers where a whole encampment is producing it. They sell it to traders and a traders sell it to organisations who make tawdry alcohol.”

Mr Davies, who visited a regions where arak is finished with his mother Lhani, pronounced counterfeiters “stretch” and “juice up” a arak with anything they can find to give it a kick.

Mr Davies says they use industrial ethanol, methanol and even insect repellant.

“That product is repackaged into alien suggestion bottles and sole behind into a traveller and grill market. If you’re a small grill owner, we can’t means to compensate tip dollar so we get something else.”

The attention is not a usually problem. Mr Davies says there’s another reason his son died. The sanatorium he arrived during in Lombok didn’t know how to diagnose a poison.

As changed hours upheld and doctors told a Davies family their son had tetanus and draining on a brain, Liam’s life slipped away.

“Hospitals didn’t know how to diagnose it afterwards and they didn’t wish to speak about it,” Mr Davies said.

“Progress has been formidable in a predominately Muslim nation where people are demure to plead anything involving alcohol.”

They need to start articulate about it. According to a International Federation of Spirits Producers, an organization set adult to strengthen a attention opposite counterfeiting of strong spirits, only 8 per cent of spirits in Indonesia is announced and genuine.

Another 40 cent is genuine though alien illegally and some-more than 50 per cent is bootleg and counterfeit.


Perth lady Jen Neilson was recuperating in a Bali sanatorium after suspected methanol poisoning in July. Source: GoFundMe

Perth lady Jen Neilson was recuperating in a Bali sanatorium after suspected methanol poisoning in July. Source: GoFundMeSource:Supplied

In October, a Davies family will lay down with a conduct of a health dialect in Indonesia to attempt, for a third time, to have new diagnosis protocols finished customary opposite a board.

The gift a family set adult in Liam’s name presented grave protocols after 12 months of rendezvous with authorities. If passed, they would meant each sanatorium treats methanol poisoning a same approach and each tyro going by a medical grade learns a same way.

“In terms of systemic change, that’s a large thing we need to get done,” Mr Davies said.

Toxicology workshops were delivered for a initial time during a categorical training sanatorium in Denpasar in 2013.

Outside that, a family has been operative with villagers on educating them about a dangers of arak, and with village health centres on how to mark a symptoms and provide them quickly.

Every year, as thousands of Australians make their approach to Indonesian celebration islands, Lhani Davies joins them.

She works with a organization Red Frog, ancillary school-leavers by walking them home when they’ve had too many drinks and educating them about a dangers of methanol.

The family attempted to take their son’s genocide to justice though success.

“The military review was unequivocally hard,” Mr Davies said.

“We’ve fundamentally walked divided from that. After a year and a half it was apparent Indonesia is a unequivocally hurtful country. Police had finished a reasonable pursuit though a prosecutor was being unequivocally difficult.

“I had Liam’s autopsy news and we gave it to him and he pronounced he didn’t even know if Liam was tainted in Indonesia or if it happened after in Australia.”

They concentration now on what they can change and they honour Liam’s legacy. In a months after his death, they set adult LIAM — Lifesaving Initiatives About Methanol.

To assistance them widespread a word, you can present here. It could save a tourist’s life.

Twitter: @ro_smith. Email:

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