7 Jan 2013

Perth teenager dies from methanol poisoning

11:01 am on 7 January 2013

An Australian teenager poisoned after drinking a methanol-laced cocktail in Indonesia has died.

Liam Davies, 19, had been fighting for life in a Perth hospital after being urgently flown back from the island of Lombok after a party went horribly wrong.

On holiday with friends, Mr Davies fell ill on New Year's Day and was transported back to Perth last Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital confirmed on Sunday that Mr Davies had died.

His family has requested no more details be issued. They had earlier warned about the potentially dangers of drinking locally brewed cocktails in Indonesia.

"Liam had been celebrating New Year with his mates at a local bar in Lombok, after which he became ill," the family statement released on Friday said.

"We would like to make people aware of the risks associated with consuming locally brewed drinks where you cannot be certain of the quality.

Mr Davies, a former representative of Australia's under-18 lacrosse team who had lived in New Zealand until the age of six, is the latest tourist to be affected by ingesting methanol while in Indonesia.

A growing number of cases of methanol poisoning had previously led to Australian health authorities warning of the dangers of potential poisoning from drinking the local "arak" brew.

In September 2011, New Zealander Michael Denton who was a Perth-based rugby player, died in Bali after consuming arak, which is described as a colourless, sugarless beverage with a 20 to 50% alcohol content which is distilled from rice or palm sap.

It is usually produced legally and safely, but unlicensed distillers also produce it, and a by-product of incorrect distillation is methanol.

At Mr Denton's inquest in Dunedin, coroner David Crerar said foreign ministries should warn citizens about the dangers of consuming the local concoction, which also blinded an 18-year-old Australian school leaver in Bali in December last year.