Deadly champagne leaves two dead, two in critical condition

By Chaminda Silva and Tony Karunanayke, Minuwangoda Corr

Two of four persons who drank a bottle of champagne during a party at a house at Mihindu Mawatha in Pallewela, Meerigama on Saturday have died and the other two are in a critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit of the Wathupitiwela hospital.

The deceased have been identified as Dharmasiri Dasanayakage Nihal (54) of the Postal Department and a friend of his Athaudage Sarath Chandra (50), a businessman.

Those at the ICU have been identified as a police sergeant and a constable attached to the Pallewela police post.

Nihal invited the two policemen and his businessman friend to a party at his residence on Saturday evening and offered them a bottle of champagne produced in France.

Residents with the assistance of the neighbours rushed them to the Meerigama Hospital, but the host and his businessman friend were declared dead on admission. A doctor at the Meerigama hospital said since the bodies of the two dead victims had turned black. It is suspected to be a case of cyanide poisoning.

The two policemen whose condition was serious were transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of the Wathupitiwala Hospital. Police said that their condition was very serious and a statement could not be obtained.

Investigations have been commenced by Acting OIC of the Meerigama Police, IP M Padmasiri, who ordered that a sample of the champagne be to the Government Analyst.

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