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Thomas Cook have now evacuated all 300 guests from the hotel amid food poisoning scare! More to the story that meets the eye?

Edit:- I notice they have updated my first link news article to include the food poisoning update.....
The Beeb were still saying "unknown cause of deaths" -didn't hear anything about food poisoning!
Apparently there will be an autopsy. It does seem strange as the re daughter says they were in good spirits the previous night I wonder if its posibly another carbon monoxide incident.
The instant reaction by Thos Cook, indicates that they know more than is being put out to the public. The Egyptians are obviously desperate to cover it up - suggesting that they both died "natural deaths -sudden failure in the heart muscle and respiratory failure" within a few hours?
Many pink pigs flying re food poisoning incidents at the hotel in the past as well as current - but can't believe that even a severe case of food poisoning could cause death of two apparently healthy people overnight:(
The carbon monoxide thing does seem a plausible theory right now although where was the daughter staying to have been unaffected. It's unthinkable to think of going on holiday with your parents and coming back with them in coffins :-(
The daughter is living a nightmare just now. I just can't imagine what she is going through. I hope the truth comes out in the end.
To me- covering up things will actually just result in more people turning their backs on Egypt as a tourist destination.
The reaction of the daughter is that she has lost both parents in 24 hors so the media quoting her is the totally tasteless reporting we expect from the media today. Personally I believe that the speculations of the media should be ignored. They don't know why and neither does anybody else at this stage. I doubt there will be any cover up as the authorities will be aware of the scutiny they are under.
Lets wait and see
I am pretty sure that the daughter wants it to be all over the media.
Thomas Cook is removing around 300 customers from the hotel where one of its employees died, along with her husband, saying the circumstances of their deaths are 'still unclear'.

It said it has received reports of a raised level of illness among guests at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada.

"Safety is always our first priority, so as a precautionary measure we have taken a decision to remove all our customers from this hotel," it said.

"We continue to work closely with the hotel and are supporting the authorities with their investigations."

It said the hotel was last audited by Thomas Cook in late July and received an overall score of 96%.

It is offering customers alternative hotels within Hurghada, or giving them the option to return home.

"While we understand this is upsetting for those on holiday, we believe this is the right thing to do," it said.

Reports emerged earlier on Thursday saying doctors in Egypt had claimed Susan Cooper, 63, who worked at Thomas Cook's Burnley branch, 'died of grief' hours after her husband John, 69, died of a heart attack.

Chief of Thomas Cook UK, Ingo Burmester, had earlier issued a statement saying: "We are deeply saddened by the deaths of two of our customers while on holiday in Hurghada in Egypt, one of whom was a loyal and long-serving member of our Thomas Cook family.

"Our focus is on fully supporting their loved ones. We are urgently investigating with the hotel and supporting the local authorities."

As well as moving guests already at the hotel, Thomas Cook is contacting customers due to travel to the hotel in the next four weeks to offer alternative holiday options. It could not confirm how many customers had booked holidays there.

Local newspaper, the Burnley Express, said the Thomas Cook branch in Chancery Walk was closed for the day as a mark of respect.

After news of the two deaths, several holidaymakers said they had been unwell.

One guest, Alison Cooper, told Radio 4's Today programme on Friday morning her family holiday had been a 'disaster'.

She said: "We have been ill for the majority of the holiday. It was reported to Thomas Cook and they told us there was no problem.

"I have spoken to 40 families and they have all been ill.

"Every single person you speak to has had sickness, diarrhoea, feeling unwell."

Courtesy of Travelmole
Thomas Cook has brought in experts to test water, food and air conditioning at the hotel in Hurghada, Egypt, where a British couple died last week.

The operator's chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, has promised to 'get to the bottom' of what caused the deaths of John and Susan Cooper, who were reportedly in good health before they died suddenly last Tuesday morning.

The couple's daughter, Kelly Ormerod, who was on holiday with them, has reportedly hired her own lawyer to investigate the deaths. Now back in the UK, she has said she believes 'something suspicious' happened.

Mr Fankhauser told Sky News test results from the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel should be known within 10 days.

He told the news channel: "We have no real evidence what caused the deaths, but what I can promise is at Thomas Cook we are doing everything to support the family and to support the Egyptian authorities…to get to the bottom of it and to get to the cause."

He reiterated the message given in a statement by Thomas Cook on Friday afternoon, which said there was no evidence to link the deaths to carbon monoxide poisoning.

"We have no evidence but I don't want to rule out anything before I really know the cause," he added.

Medical reports carried out in Egypt say the couple both suffered 'respiratory failure'.

Sixty-nine-year-old Mr Cooper died of 'a sudden stoppage of the heart muscles and respiratory failure', while 63-year-old Mrs Cooper, who worked as a travel agent for Thomas Cook, died of 'a stoppage of circulation and respiratory failure'.

Meanwhile, at least 20 people have brought legal claims against the hotel after reportedly feeling unwell after recent stays. They are being represented by law firm Simpson Millar.

Following the deaths last week, Thomas Cook moved 300 clients out of the hotel, although it is still operating.

The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel was last audited by Thomas Cook in late July 2018 and received an overall score of 96%.

Courtesy of Travelmole
Independent testing carried out at the hotel in Hurghada where a British couple died last month have revealed a high level of e-coli and staphylococcus bacteria, which can cause food poisoning.

However, Thomas Cook said the results did not explain the sudden deaths of its two guests, travel agent Susan Cooper and her husband John, at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel.

Thomas Cook commissioned an independent hygiene specialist and air quality specialist to conduct the tests, which covered food, water and air. They included tests on the swimming pool, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels, air conditioning units and an audit of food storage, preparations and equipment.

But they were denied access to the Cooper's hotel room, where husband and wife were found dying on August 21, as this has remained under the control of the Egyptian authorities due to their ongoing investigation, said Cook.

The examination of air and water quality throughout the rest of the hotel was clear, there was no evidence of carbon monoxide and there were normal carbon dioxide levels in the vicinity of the room.

The tests on the swimming pools showed normal levels of chlorine.

The tests on the food and hygiene standards identified a high level of e-coli and staphylococcus bacteria, but no shigella, listeria or salmonella.

The preliminary results have been reviewed by an independent expert,Doctor Vanya Gant, the consultant and divisional dlinical director in microbiology and infection at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

"We have also shared these findings with the Cooper family, the Egyptian authorities and the Deutsche Hospitality group which has a franchise agreement with the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel," said Thomas Cook in a statement.

It added: "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.

"However, neither our independent specialists nor Doctor Vanya Gant believe that these results shed any light on the still unexplained cause of death of Mr and Mrs Cooper. We await the results of the autopsies being conducted by the Egyptian authorities."

Thomas Cook said it has now decided to roll out a programme of specialist hygiene assessments to all hotels which experience a higher than average reported level of sickness.

All customers who told the operator they were ill during their stay at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel during August will receive compensation, said the operator.

"We are aware of 14 other customers who have reported sickness directly to us," said a spokeswoman.

"We take all reports of sickness seriously and we are very sorry for any customers whose holidays have been spoiled by illness. We have already put in place a dedicated team to prioritise all complaints from this hotel," it added.

The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel remains on stop sale to Thomas Cook customers until further notice.

Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: "Everyone at Thomas Cook is deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of John and Susan Cooper while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada. Susan was a longstanding and much-loved colleague of ours.

"We continue to await the results of the investigation being conducted by the Egyptian authorities and are working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure we prioritise the very best interests of the Cooper family.

"However, the tests that Thomas Cook commissioned and announced today show that hygiene at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel during the month of August did not meet the standards we expect. I am very sorry for all our customers who fell ill while on a Thomas Cook holiday at this hotel.

"These results, while not establishing the cause of the tragic deaths of John and Susan Cooper, have prompted us to commit further resource to tackle hygiene standards in those hotels where we identify a higher than average level of sickness.

"At any one time, Thomas Cook has more than 500,000 people holidaying with us somewhere in the world. We will continue to do all that we can to keep them safe and well on what should be the happiest weeks of their year."

A spokeswoman said the operator was working out at the moment how many hotels would require a specialist hygiene assessment. When asked why this wasn't already routine, she said: "We commission independent auditors SGS to audit all 3000 of our core properties yearly, to standards that in many cases are higher than those elsewhere in the industry. These audits are broad and cover a range of aspects surrounding the accommodation."

Courtesy of Travelmole
Tests carried out by tour operators TUI and DER Touristik have shown no harmful levels of e-coli or staphylococci bacteria at the Hurghada Hotel where two Thomas Cook guests mysteriously died.

The German travel giants have given the all-clear to the Steigenberger Aqua Magic, where Thomas Cook said its independent tests showed high levels of the bacteria.

According to reports in Germany, forwarded to TravelMole by the Steigenberger Hotel group, TUI and DER Touristik commissioned their own investigations but came to a different conclusion.

Their tests found 'no abnormalities' and neither company has recorded an increased number of illnesses from guests staying at the resort.

Sven Hirschler, senior director corporate communications for the Frankfurt-based hotel group, confirmed that both of the German companies are doing regular hygiene checks on the hotel and continue to send customers there.

He said TUI and DER Touristik account for the largest number of bookings for the resort.

None of its German guests have requested to move and the hotel is currently full, he added.

Thomas Cook, meanwhile, has removed all of its customers from the hotel and has cancelled bookings until January 15 after the results of its investigation.

But it addmitted its tests do not explain the sudden deaths of Susan Cooper, a Thomas Cook travel agent, and her husband John while staying at the hotel last month.

Its independent investigators were denied access to the Cooper's hotel room, which has remained under the control of the Egyptian authorities due to their ongoing investigation.

Courtesy of Travelmole
Would there have been an autopsy undertaken, which will then determine the cause of death?
It would appear that the cause of death was heart and respiratory failure but what hasn't been reported and perhaps never will be found out, is what caused such a catastrophic shutdown of their systems.
I read that the room next to the couple had been fumigated, it is unclear when this occurred, although the family reported a strange smell in the room during the evening prior to the daughter finding them desperately ill the next morning, and they had just sprayed a bit of perfume.
The Daily Mail printed a photo of the end room in the block that was fumigated. It's next door to the Cooper’s room and theirs would be the only one affected via ducts and walls for seepage.

Years ago I used to fumigate the greenhouse at the end of the growing season using 'smoke bombs' to get rid of pests such as whitefly and red spider mites.
These were highly toxic and subsequently banned by the EU. They were like a cone shaped firework and after lighting the blue touch paper, you had to get out quickly before the explosion of pesticide filled the greenhouse......... and ventilate for two days before entering again, and even then, you could still smell the remaining residue for days afterwards.

Inhaling a small amount could cause dizziness, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.... Typical symptoms experienced by having a 'holiday tummy'.
People have died using these 'bombs' by accidentally getting trapped in the room or re-
entering too early, The pesticide irritates the lungs, slows down the heartbeat, depressing breathing and 'attacks' the nervous system shutting down vital organs such as the liver and kidneys as they try to eliminate the poisoning.

A pesticide with a high acute toxicity like these 'smoke bombs 'can be deadly, so they're not to be used willy nilly in the vicinity of humans. IMO, it's negligence to fumigate a room where only an internal wall (probably made of breeze block and full of holes) and connected by ducts would be considered to be a sound barrier to protect the humans next door.

1. When was the room next door fumigated and whilst all pesticides are toxic to humans ( as well as other animals). Are the banned 'bombs' still available outside the EU and used in Egypt .?
2. Did this couple go to bed inhaling and also absorbing the pesticide fumes (via the skin) all night.?....IMO, The symptoms tend to suggest that they did.

It's just my theory, but it could explain the mystery and claims made by several sources that other holiday makers were not affected by 'food poisoning '.

I sincerely hope that the family gets to the truth, it's truly an horrific situation. However, I have a gut feeling that the Egyptian tourist industry and the Tour Operators might be wishing it all quietly goes away.

Sanji x
  • Edited by Sanji 2018-09-09 21:23:41
    Typo error
My wife and I both thought of possible insecticide issues directly the story appeared because of the wife's death so soon after her husband.
We have certainly been on holidays elsewhere (Cuba in particular) where the hoteliers have sprayed the grounds with extremely powerful insecticides and the TOs have warned customers to keep all doors and windows tightly shut as inhalation can cause respiratory problems.
The possibility that this is a case of insecticide poisoning does make sense, especially if the hotel took a cavalier attitude to the potential dangers. I regularly travel to Cuba where not just hotels spray their grounds, as Brewerdave mentions' but there is a government programme of regular fumigation of private homes. However, the regulations are very strict. Blocks of houses are done on a regular rotation and my 'homestay' hosts have always been very specific about what has to be done before the fumigators arrive (eg packing away all your clothes back into your suitcase) and they strip the beds of all linen, cover the beds with dust sheets etc. Doors and windows etc are closed/shuttered and everybody has to leave the house as soon as the fumigators arrive and isn't allowed back in for hours and even then you are only allowed in to open the windows and doors to ventilate the house before you have to go outside again. You can always tell when the fumigators have called because whole families are sat outside waiting for the all clear to go inside once the house has been fully ventilated - again for some hours. And perhaps most relevant to this case, the reason why an entire block of houses is done at the same time with everybody in the block having to vacate their homes is because of concerns about fumes permeating neighbouring houses. While not a requirement, many families take children right out of the neighbourhood whilst this is all being done.

I've never experienced any of the symptoms described by Sanji, nor know of anybody who has, after a visit from the fumigators despite the fact that on most trips there usually has been one. But that just emphasises for me the necessity for the precautions enforced by the Cuban authorities and it reassures me about just how seriously they take the risks of pesticide use. Plus they take great care to ensure that the breeding grounds for insects are controlled as well - woebetide you if in the course of the fumigators visits you are found to have any uncovered water tanks or ponds of staganant water in your garden/on your patio.
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