Egypt hotel deaths: Thomas Cook confirms ‘high level’ of e-coli

Independent investigations ‘shed no light’ on why John and Susan Cooper died


Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 05 September 2018 22:14
Egyptian hotel evacuated after British couple found dead

E coli has been found at the Egyptian hotel where a British couple died 15 days ago, Thomas Cook has confirmed.

But the tour operator says the results of wide-ranging tests shed no light on why John and Susan Cooper from Burnley died at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada.

The couple, who were staying in the Egyptian resort with their daughter and grandchildren, passed away within hours of each other on 21 August.

Two days later, Thomas Cook announced it was evacuating over 300 holidaymakers from the hotel because of “a raised level of illness among guests”.

The company sent independent investigators to check the safety of food, water and air in the hotel, including “a thorough audit of food storage, preparation, presentation and equipment”.

“The tests on the food and hygiene standards identified a high level of E coli and staphylococcus bacteria,” said Thomas Cook in a statement.

“It is clear from these results that something went wrong in August at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada and that standards fell below what we expect from our hotel partners.

“This is also supported by a review that we have conducted of our customer satisfaction scores, which fell sharply during this month.

“It is likely that the presence of E coli and staphylococcus would explain the raised level of illness reported among guests at the hotel during this time, supporting Thomas Cook’s decision to remove our 300 customers.”

The firm is putting together a compensation package for holidaymakers who reported falling ill during August while staying at the hotel.

It will also send specialist hygiene assessors to any hotels where a higher than average level of sickness is reported.

The family of John Cooper, 69, and Susan Cooper, 63, are no closer knowing why the couple died.

Hotel concerns: the Steigenberger Aqua Magic in Hurghada, from which all Thomas Cook clients have been evacuated

Thomas Cook investigators were not allowed in the room where the couple died, which is still sealed off by the Egyptian authorities.

The company said: “There was no evidence of carbon monoxide and there were normal carbon dioxide levels in the vicinity of the room.

“We await the results of the autopsies being conducted by the Egyptian authorities.”

Thomas Cook has taken the hotel off sale, but it remains open.

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