Last updated: 11:17 AM ET, Sat October 01 2016

Authorities: Sisters Visiting Seychelles Died of Excess Lung Fluid

Features & Advice | Rich Thomaselli | October 01, 2016

Authorities: Sisters Visiting Seychelles Died of Excess Lung Fluid

PHOTO: Sisters Robin Marie Korkki and Anne Marie Korkki were found dead in their villa in the Seychelles on Sept. 22. (Photo via Facebook)

Two sisters originally from Minnesota who were found unresponsive last week in their luxury hotel room in Seychelles died from excess fluid in the lungs, authorities said on Friday.

Robin Marie Korkki, 42, died from “acute pulmonary edema” and Anne Marie Korkki, 37, died of “acute pulmonary and cerebral edema” – fluid on the brain – according to results of an autopsy carried out on the nearby island nation of Mauritius  off the coast of Africa.

The sisters had rented a villa at the Maia Luxury Resort and Spa, when they were found on Sept. 22.

But “no visible signs of injuries were found on the bodies,” according to the autopsy, deepening the mystery. Police were continuing with their investigation.

Police spokesperson Jean Toussaint told the Seychelles News Agency that toxicology reports are still pending from a lab on the neighboring island of Mauritius. Toussaint told the news agency that investigations had shown that the pair were seen drinking and had been helped to their rooms by hotel personnel the night before they were found dead.

Also known as a pulmonary edema, fluid on the lungs occurs when fluid from inside blood vessels seeps outside the blood vessel into the surrounding tissues, causing swelling, according to WebMD. This can happen either because of too much pressure in the blood vessels or not enough proteins in the bloodstream to hold onto the fluid in the plasma (the part of the blood that does not contain any blood cells). … This can cause problems with the exchange of gas (oxygen and carbon dioxide), resulting in breathing difficulty and poor oxygenation of blood. It can be caused by many different factors, including heart failure.

Dr. Patrick Lank, a Northwestern Medicine assistant professor of emergency medicine in Chicago, told the Associated Press that pulmonary edema is commonly seen in drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning, 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.

Their brother, Chris Korkki of Lakeville, Minnesota, told The Associated Press on Thursday that his sisters “were frequent travelers both domestically and internationally. They were kind and generous and compassionate, and were wonderful people that had a positive impact on a huge number of people."

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