A coroner announced today that the Korkki sisters died of symptoms related to high altitude sickness, solving part of their double death mystery, but not all of it.
Autopsies revealed that affluent American tourists Annie Korkki, 37, and her sister Robin, 42, succumbed more than a week ago to “acute” pulmonary and cerebral edema while vacationing at an island luxury resort off the east African coast.
Their bodies were discovered prone on the same bed in their shared hotel suite on September 22, 2016, with “no visible signs of injury.”
The condition that appears to have simultaneously killed them involves the buildup of fluid in the heart, lungs and brain, producing dangerous swelling and even death if not immediately treated.
It commonly afflicts mountain climbers who rapidly ascend high peaks without first acclimating to the thinner atmosphere, but concussions, infectious diseases, tumors and strokes are also possible contributing factors.
Both of the Korkki siblings, however, were healthy and athletic, a family member informed reporters for CNN.
He said they had always been “inseparable” and that each worked in the financial industry; one in Chicago, the other in Denver.
The “adventurous” twosome had extended their joint vacation in the Seychelles archipelago by a few days -- perhaps due to being sickened -- although no particular reason for a departure change was given in any of their social media updates.
According to WebMD and Emedicine.Medscape, the onset of symptoms of ‘mountain sickness’ can present in only a matter of hours after the initial neurologic insult.
These include dizziness, nausea, vision loss, impaired memory, seizure, stupor and unconsciousness. Any of which could explain why the sisters had to be physically “helped” by hotel staff to their room in the hours before they passed away together.
Still, their postmortem reports don't solve the Korkki case entirely, since how they could have fallen so gravely ill, side by side, with such a weird illness, still remains unknown today.