Bali restaurants deny food killed pair

Last updated 22:43 06/01/2014

Noelene Bischoff's younger brother, Malcolm Bischoff, doesn't understand how his sister and niece died in Bali.

bischstand
Noelene Bischoff and her daughter Yvana.
Noelene Bischoff
The pair were in Bali for a 15-day holiday.
Noelene Bischoff
Yvana Bischoff was a student at Caloundra Christian College in Queensland.
Noelene Bischoff
Yvana Jeana Yuri Bischoff and her mother Noelene Bischoff.

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The managers of two restaurants in Bali where a mother and daughter dined in the 12 hours before their deaths have rejected claims their dishes are to blame.

Noelene Bischoff and her 14-year-old daughter Yvana Jeana Yuri Bischoff, from the Sunshine Coast, died less than a day into their 15-day adventure on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali. Local police speculated food poisoning or anaphylaxis.

But the manager of the resort where they were staying, Giovanni Bareato, said he and a group of others had eaten the same fish as the mother and daughter at the resort's Buddha Bar that night.

‘‘It’s a big fish so we would have eaten the same one,’’Bareato said.

‘‘We haven’t fallen ill and I know of no-one else who have fallen ill from the food.’’

He said he did not believe the fish was toxic and a doctor had told him he suspected the mother and daughter had a food allergy.

On Friday at 1pm, the pair went to the Warung Dewa Malen restaurant in Gianyar, near Ubud, and appeared “happy” and relaxed as they sat down at table 16, restaurant supervisor Wayan Bagia told Fairfax Media.

“They asked for Fritto Misto, which has calamari, tuna and prawns, and it comes with French fries, and for another dish with fried calamari. And for dessert they had creme caramel."

None of the 108 other guests served lunch that day had complained about food poisoning, Bagia said. Several diners consumed the same dish.  Bischoff paid 404,140 Rupiah (NZ$40), using her credit card.

Police descended on the restaurant on Saturday evening but the restaurant had never had a major incident in its two-year history and patronage levels were as high as ever, Bagia said. 

After lunch the pair returned to their resort, Padang Bai Beach resort in Karangasem on the south-east coast, and ate chicken curry, vegetarian pizza and mahi-mahi fish at Buddha Bar.

Bareato told the pair's family by phone on Sunday that the dinner was not to blame. He had eaten it, as well as the staff, with no adverse effects.

He is waiting for autopsy results which he expected to be completed on Monday, he said. “What they tend to exclude is food poisoning."

The room at the resort where the Bischoffs were staying has been taped off since their deaths.

"The room is closed because their belongings [are ]in it. We are waiting for the consulate to collect their things. It's taped, but not because it's a crime scene, but because no-one can come in,” he said.

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The Bischoff family has strongly denied that the pair had allergies, adding that Noelene, 54, loved to eat seafood.

Malcolm Bishoff, Noelene's younger brother, said he felt shock when Bareato described the scene in the private ambulance. “Her airway was closed, it was so swollen they couldn't even put a tract in. That's what the hotel manager was saying.”

“It was a blessing that they went together I suppose, because they would have been lost without each other," he said.

Keryn Bishoff, Noelene's sister-in-law, said the family was still “in a state of shock” over the deaths of the “best mates”. 

“The whole community is just reeling. The outpouring of grief has been incredible.”

Bischoff said his mother Jean, 80, who had lived with Noelene and Yvana for the past nine years in Wurtulla, was preparing herself for a memorial service to be held for the pair on the Sunshine Coast on Thursday.

Also needing a new home will be Yvana's horse - a Christmas present from her mother.

"Yvana had wanted a horse for years, so Noelene bought her a horse, but she'd only had it for two weeks," he said.

- The Age and AAP

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