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Bali deaths: Family mourns 'best mates'

The distraught family of a Sunshine Coast mother and daughter who died of suspected food poisoning in Bali are finding comfort in the knowledge the ‘‘best mates’’ will forever be together.

Less than 24 hours after arriving in Bali for a 15-day holiday, Noelene Bischoff, 54, and her daughter Yvana, 14, were dead.

Their devastated family has described the deaths of the inseparable pair as ‘‘freakish and unexplainable’’, confused by suggestions they had suffered a fatal allergic reaction to a seafood meal.

Noelene’s younger brother Malcolm Bischoff said the pair were inseparable and shared a special bond.

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

‘‘They were extremely close. They were probably more like best mates rather than mother, daughter.’’


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

Also needing a new home will be Yvana’s horse - a Christmas present from her doting mum.

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

Mr Bischoff said neither had ever declared food allergies or carried an EpiPen and Noelene loved seafood.

‘‘I’ve had any amount of shared seafood dinners with her - prawns, fish - over the years,’’ he said.

‘‘It seems a bit weird.’’

They were probably more like best mates rather than mother, daughter

A ‘‘blurry’’ timeline of events from the time they arrived on the island on Friday was also adding to the family’s confusion.

The mother and daughter, from Wurtulla on the Sunshine Coast, checked into Padang Bai Beach Resort by 3pm on Friday, visiting the neighbouring district of Ubud before returning to the coastal resort to have dinner at the Buddha Bar and Restaurant.

Just after midnight, Yvana alerted security staff to their violent illness. They were taken by private ambulance to a nearby hospital but Noelene died en route at 1.45am, according to local sources.

Yvana was then rushed to BIMC Hospital, an international clinic in the Balinese capital of Denpasar. Despite still being conscious and able to speak to doctors on arrival, she could not be saved.

Mr Bischoff, believes his niece told hospital staff she had eaten mahi mahi fish for dinner at the resort. The hospital investigators suspect the fish carried toxins.

On Sunday afternoon, a resort manager told the family by phone that he had eaten the same fish meal as Noelene and her daughter, but had not felt ill.

The family is struggling to comprehend how Noelene - a managing nurse at Caloundra Hospital who wrote a university thesis about food poisoning - would have fallen victim to such an illness.

‘‘And she wouldn’t have put her daughter at risk,’’ Mr Bischoff said.

A police source said: ‘‘Checking the scene, we found lots of medicine. All the medicines are from abroad. The vomit and medicines have been taken to forensic laboratory.’’

The chief of criminal investigations in Karangasem, Adnan Pangibu, is now handling the case.

Police have recovered a receipt from Noelene's purse that appeared to be from the restaurant. No other customers were sick, staff say. Police did not disclose the restaurant's name or the list of dishes on the receipt.

- Marissa Calligeros, Esther Han and Jeffrey Hutton