Thomas Cook hotel guests to be removed as a result of deaths

  • img Harvey Cawdron
  • POSTED ON 24 Aug 2018


Thomas Cook is removing all of its guests from a hotel in Egypt after a British couple died there. 

69-year-old James Cooper, and his wife Susan, 63, from Burnley, died whilst staying in the Steigenberger Aqua Magic in the Red Sea resort at Hurghada.

Ahmed Abdallah, the governor of Hurghada, told the Times that 'Their daughter said to the prosecutors that there might [have been a] leaking air conditioner. This claim is not logical because the air conditioner of the hotel is central and if there is a leak it would have affected all the 2,500 guests at the hotel. Also, we took a sample of the food of the hotel for testing. But if there is a problem with the food it would have affected other people.'

He said that their daughter's claim has led to an autopsy review of the mother, but not of the father, because he had ' clearly suffered a heart attack'. He added that 'We found a bag of medicine at his room. He suffered many health issues. His wife died two or three hours after him. It could be due to neural shock or she might have taken something [to end her life].'

However the couple's daughter has said that the cause of their deaths was not clear. Kelly Ormerod claimed that her parents had been 'fit and healthy'.

Ormerod, who was staying at the hotel with her 3 children, said in a statement to Lancashire-based radio station 2BR that 'They had no health problems at all. We have no cause of death, a post-mortem is under way. Dad never went to hospital, he died in the hotel room in front of me. I went to hospital in the ambulance with Mum, where she passed away.'

She also praised Thomas Cook's support, which said it had been provided with 'further reports of a raised level of illness among guests'. 

According to the Telegraph, it has been reported that Ormerod told local officials that a faulty air conditioning unit might have played a part in her parents falling ill.

Thomas Cook said in a statement that 301 holidaymakers will be given the option of staying in alternative hotels from Friday onwards, and those that wish to go home will be flown back on Friday. 

It added that 'Safety is always our first priority, so as a precautionary measure we have taken a decision to remove all our customers from this hotel. While we understand this is upsetting for those on holiday, we believe this is the right thing to do.' 

Sven Hirschler, senior director of corporate communications for the hotel's parent company Deutsche Hospitality, said there was not an abnormal level of illness among the 1,600 guests staying at the hotel. He also said that Cooper had reported having low blood pressure and was treated by the hotel's on-site doctor on the night of his death. 

Other guests have spoken to the BBC about their experiences with illness whilst staying at the hotel. 

Janine Traviss, from Oldham, and her partner both suffered from a stomach bug during a holiday which finished earlier this month. She said that 'I subsequently have been ill for several weeks now since returning and had to visit the doctors on two occasions with two full weeks of antibiotics. I am still recovering and still feel very tired and exhausted most days.'

Thomas Cook claimed to be working closely with the hotel and supporting local authorities with their investigations. It said that the hotel received an overall score of 96% when it was last audited in the previous month. 

The tour operator added that 'We will be contacting those customers due to travel to the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada in the next four weeks to offer alternative holiday options'. 

Mrs Cooper was an employee in their Burnley branch, which was closed on Thursday. The company had earlier deemed her 'loyal and long-serving' member of staff.

The listing for the hotel on the Thomas Cook website now includes a line saying 'Sorry, there is currently no availability.'