Survivor of home-brew that killed two is improving

UPDATE A survivor of a home distilled alcohol poisoning is showing signs of improvement while his friend remains in a critical condition.

A Princess Alexandra Hospital spokesman today said Joshua Lynam had been upgraded from being in a critical condition to serious.

The spokesman said Joshua's friend Vincent Summers remained in a critical condition.

Joshua's brother Joel Lynam and their friend Bryan Wilmot died from what a Toowoomba doctor believes was methanol poisoning.

Joel died in the early hours of Sunday morning while Mr Wilmot died in Toowoomba Hospital on Monday.

Some reports have claimed the men were drinking grappa, while others said they were drinking distilled wine.

Acting clinical director of Toowoomba's Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Service Dr Steve Cramb said it was difficult to comment on the incident without the full details of what the men had consumed.

He said methanol concentration was a common problem with home distilled grappa, a spirit made from grape seeds and stems.

"Brewing up things that include woody elements can end up with a whole lot of methanol," Dr Cramb said.

"The general belief is this has been methanol poisoning."

He said if the men had consumed distilled wine, their poisoning suggested there might have been some methanol in the wine which they distilled.

Media outlets today suggested the brew contained antifreeze.

But Dr Cramb said methanol-based antifreeze was not available for purchase in Australia.

"It is hard to see why people would deliberately do that."

His advice was for home brewers to use commercial kits rather than distilling drinks from bases that were not quality controlled.

"I would think you would want to know what the source and the quality control was."

EARLIER: The Granite Belt has been rocked by news that two men have died and two others are in a critical condition following a home distilling activity gone wrong.

Twenty-one-year-old Joel Lynam from Ballandean and 30-year-old Bryan Wilmot have died, while Vincent Summers, 21, and Joshua Lynam, 26, are being treated at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Police continue to investigate if what is believed to be home distilled wine-based spirits, possibly tainted, were to blame.

Emergency services were called to a Puglisi Ln, Ballandean property about 5.30am on Sunday, following reports the men had fallen ill.

Joel died at the scene and Joshua, Vincent and Bryan were taken to hospital in a critical condition.

A police source confirmed yesterday evening that Bryan, who was being treated at the Toowoomba Hospital, had also passed away after his life support was turned off earlier during the day.

Before going to print, a spokeswoman for the Princess Alexandra Hospital confirmed Joshua and Vincent were both in a critical condition in intensive care.

Left to right: Joel Lynam tragically passed away on Sunday morning. Bryan Wilmot lost his fight for life on Monday. Joshua Lynam is in the PA Hospital ICU in a serious condition. Vincent Summers also lost his fight for life on Tuesday evening.
Left to right: Joel Lynam tragically passed away on Sunday morning. Bryan Wilmot lost his fight for life on Monday. Joshua Lynam is in the PA Hospital ICU in a serious condition. Vincent Summers also lost his fight for life on Tuesday evening.

Family and friends have taken to Facebook, leaving messages of grief and support for the men and their families.

Joel's aunt Jennifer Buchanan wrote: "To my nephew Joel, may you rest in peace now. You are together with your mum and family. Love always."

On Sunday, Stanthorpe police said a quantity of home-made alcohol was being analysed, and a report is being prepared for the coroner. Other media reports have described the substance as home-made Italian grappa - traditionally made from grape skins and seeds - but it is believed those involved were distilling ordinary wine.



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