A 33-year-old British man has died and two of his friends are seriously ill in hospital after they collapsed during a trip to Turkey for teeth whitening.
Richard Molloy from Belfast died on Saturday after travelling to Marmaris for dental work, while his two friends Declan Carson and Aaron Callaghan were left critically ill.
It remains unclear what caused the DJ’s death but it is understood the three men were in Turkey for a teeth whitening procedure.
Mr Carson, a father-of-two, and Mr Callaghan are reportedly in comas but their condition has now improved and they have been taken off of life-support machines.
Richard Molloy, 33, (back) from Belfast, died on Saturday after travelling to Marmaris for dental work, while his two friends Declan Carson (left) and Aaron Callaghan (right) were left critically ill
Police are reportedly trying to trace the dentist who treated the ‘three fit and healthy young lads’.
They collapsed in their rented holiday apartment after taking a drug they were given prior to whitening procedure, local reports said.
Turkish newspaper Sözcü reported one of the men asked for help from the hotel manager.
Investigators have not suggested the dental drug caused Mr Solloy’s death and are not ruling out other possible causes.
Colin Bell from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is helping the family bring Mr Molloy’s remains home.
Aaron Callaghan, one of the men still in hospital, is a former player for St James’ Swifts Football Club
He told the Belfast Telegraph: ‘It’s a very difficult situation. The young fellow died out in Turkey after travelling with his two friends.
‘I understand they had been travelling out for dental treatment, we don’t know how it happened but it ended up with Richard dying and the other two lads being seriously ill.
‘At this stage his sister has flown out and she’s been put in touch with the funeral company who are looking after Richard’s repatriation.’
North Belfast Sinn Fein MP John Finucane, who has spoken to the three families, said the ‘absolutely heartbreaking’ tragedy had affected ‘three fit and healthy young lads’.
He said: ‘The community of North Belfast will rally around the families of those affected and do all that we can to provide support to them at this time of great difficulty.
‘I will be making immediate contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs to request all the necessary support be urgently put in place to assist the families.’
He said Mr Carson and Mr Callaghan’s families were going out to Turkey ‘desperately wanting to bring their children back’.
He told the BBC: ‘The families I have spoken to are grateful for the support but also need space and privacy and this includes people being responsible on social media.
‘There is a family here making arrangements to bring their brother, their son, home and there are two other families just hoping their loved one will pull through.
‘So it’s a very difficult but we don’t have much clarity at this stage as to what exactly has happened.’
A salon in Belfast has paid tribute to Richie on its Facebook page.
Simon Flannery Male Grooming said: ‘We received heart breaking news over the weekend that one of our clients of over a decade, Richie Molloy, has passed away while on holiday in Turkey.
‘Richie was a true gentlemen and always brought a smile and laughter to the salon. Everyone who works and has worked in the shop and met Richie will miss his dearly.
‘Our thoughts are with Richie’s family and friends.’
The SDLP deputy mayor of Belfast Paul McCusker, described the tragedy as ‘worrying and devastating’.
He said: ‘Worrying and devastating news coming from Turkey regarding three local North Belfast men.
‘At this stage we know one male has died and two others are critical. As a North Belfast community all our thoughts and prayers are with you all including the familes.’
It remains unclear what caused Mr Molloy’s death but it is understood he was in Turkey for a teeth whitening procedure. Pictured: Turunc Bay in Marmaris
Aaron Callaghan, one of the men still in hospital, is a former player for St James’ Swifts Football Club.
The club’s Twitter page wrote: ‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to former first team player Aaron Callaghan today.
‘Everyone at the club are thinking of you during this time and we have both you (and) your friends within our hearts.’
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: ‘We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Turkey and we are in contact with the Turkish authorities.’
The Irish Government said: ‘We are aware of the case and are providing consular assistance.’