Virginia travelers take safety precautions after family dies on vacation in Mexico

Local News

The bodies of an Iowa family are expected back in the U.S. on Wednesday after their mysterious deaths while on vacation in Mexico.

A family member called police when they never returned home.

They went to bed last week and never woke up. Now autopsies point to toxic gas as the cause of their deaths.

Despite this tragedy happening to an Iowa family in Mexico, people in Central Virginia are still reacting.

“We don’t ever wanna think about what’s gonna go wrong,” said Tammy Arnette with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Arnette says travelers can do their homework before leaving for spring break.

“Ask the property directly you know, ‘hey tell me about your security measures at your property, tell me about the things you have that can keep me and my family safe such as a smoke detector, a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detectors where are the fire exits,'” Arnette adds.

Nancy Thompson and her husband were out shopping in Carytown Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, they made a stop at the hardware store after hearing about the tragedy in Mexico.

“We were at Lowe’s and that was on my list to buy a monoxide detector and I told my husband I bought it specifically because of the sad story of the family that was traveling,” said Thompson.

Thompson says her grandfather died from toxic fumes at a motel back in the 1960’s.

Even so, it’s not until this week that she decided to take safety matters into her own hands.

She says a portable carbon monoxide detector will go in her suitcase on future trips.

“Its a plug-in and it costs less than 30 dollars — so I plan to take that wherever we go when we travel,” said Thompson.

For people leaving the country on vacation, AAA guides travelers to the State Department website, which offers insights into areas with increased travel risks.

Regardless of the destination, experts say to have a plan in place.

“Let your family know and have an emergency contact as well,” said Arnette.

“Have that open communication so that they know where you’re going, when you’re going, and when you’re expected home.”

AAA adds there’s no such thing as being over-prepared.

Another smart step is to call your bank before you go out of town. They can flag your card to know charges will be coming from unusual zip codes.

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