THE SEYCHELLES — Two American sisters found unresponsive in their resort in the Seychelles died of excess fluid in their lungs, according to authorities in the island nation off Africa’s east coast.
Autopsies performed Wednesday showed Robin Marie Korkki, 42, of Chicago, and Anne Marie Korkki, 37, of Denver, died from acute pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs, police told the Seychelles News Agency.
Cerebral endema, or excess fluid in the brain, also contributed to Anne Korkki’s death, the news agency reported.
No explanation was offered for the fluid build-up in the women’s lungs.
[The Associated Press reported: Many things can cause acute pulmonary edema and cerebral edema, said Dr. Patrick Lank, a Northwestern Medicine assistant professor of emergency medicine in Chicago. Emergency rooms commonly see it in drug overdoses, he said, but it might also come from a viral infection.
[“Two people at the same time is odd,” Lank said. “It suggests more of a toxicologic or environmental cause, or a potential infection if they’re traveling together.”
[An itinerary found at the Maia hotel indicated the sisters had been touring Africa since Sept. 1, and that they had visited Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar before arriving in Seychelles on Sept. 16. Annie Korkki lived in Denver, while Robin Korkki lived in Chicago.]
No visible injuries
Resort management discovered the women unresponsive September 22 in their villa, Seychelles police spokesman Jean Toussaint said.
No visible signs of injuries were found on the bodies, he said.
The sisters were staying at the Maia resort on Seychelles’ main island, Mahe.
Seychelles authorities contacted the U.S. Embassy, Toussaint said. He declined to provide further information, citing privacy and ongoing investigations.
Calls to the U.S. Embassy in the Seychelles went unanswered.
‘This isn’t happening’
Worried relatives in the sisters’ native Minnesota are seeking answers.
In Minneapolis, their brother told a newspaper that the family is getting no information on the case. Some family members have traveled to the Seychelles to gather details and bring the sisters’ bodies home.
“At this point, the only details we know are the articles flying around online,” Chris Korkki told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune this week. “Two things keep going through my mind: This isn’t happening, and we just want answers.”
He said his sisters were healthy and adventurous, and loved to “experience life to the fullest.” They had been posting photos on social media showing them swimming and having fun while on the vacation.
Anne Korkki moved to Denver last year and worked for JP Morgan Chase, the brother told CNN affiliate KCNC.
Robin Korkki worked as a commodities trader in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Seychelles is a popular tourist destination because of its pristine beaches, warm water and coral reefs.
The Korkki sisters were staying in Mahe, one of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean nation.
They arrived in the Seychelles on September 15 and were due to leave September 24, two days after they were found dead, Toussaint said.