The Taranaki survivor of a horror meal in Thailand still does not know what it was that killed her friend and left her own life hanging in the balance.

Early reports said that eating toxic seaweed had cost Sarah Carter, 23, her life and made Kaponga’s Amanda Eliason, 24, and a third travel companion, Emma Langlands, 23, violently ill.

But doctors are not convinced the seafood dish was to blame and are hoping further tests will eventually determine the cause.

Speaking to the Taranaki Daily News from her hospital bed in northern Thailand last night, Ms Eliason said all three had eaten dinner at a food market late last week and began vomiting early the next morning.

“By 10.30am we called hotel reception and they said they would arrange for a doctor to come and see us.

She said the vomiting stopped for four hours but by late afternoon they were all ill again.

“After getting back in touch with the doctor we were told to go to hospital and by 1am on Friday morning we were all in hospital.”

Ms Eliason eventually needed heart surgery to assist her recovery but doctors lost the battle to save Ms Carter.

Ms Eliason said she was moved from intensive care to a general ward in the Chiang Mai Ram Hospital yesterday and was hopeful of being discharged in the next few days.

Her parents, Peter and Kay Eliason, are at her bedside, which she said had made a huge difference.

“I’ve had heaps of messages of support and I can’t explain how lucky I’ve been with the care I’ve had in the hospital. The doctors and nurses have been here for me every step of the way.

“I just got moved into a general ward and will hopefully be with Emma, as we’re likely to be discharged at the same time.

“Hopefully we’ll both be on flights home next week.”

Ms Langlands was not as badly affected by the poisoning.

Her father, Richard, said he and wife Margaret were extremely relieved their daughter survived. “Clearly we’re one of the lucky parents – words cannot describe how we feel for the Carter family.”

Mrs Langlands travelled to Thailand with son Samuel to be with her daughter on Sunday.

A funeral will be held for Carter in New Zealand on St Valentine’s Day.

Details emerged yesterday, with her brother Ryan, 19, posting the information on a social media tribute page to his sister. He wrote that “all are welcome to attend and celebrate the life of Sarah Carter” in Howick, Auckland, where her mother and father live.

~Taranaki Daily News

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