The British couple who died in their hotel room in Egypt both fell ill after suffering “respiratory failure”, medical examinations have revealed.
John and Susan Cooper, 69 and 63, passed away at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada – a popular resort in the Red Sea area of the country – on Tuesday morning.
The local governor’s office has said the cause of Mr Cooper’s death was “a sudden stoppage of the heart muscles and respiratory failure”, with his wife dying due to “a stoppage of circulation and respiratory failure”.
It said of both: “There was no reason to suspect the death was of a criminal nature.”
The findings were made public shortly after daughter Kelly Ormerod, who was on holiday with her parents and three children, revealed they had been “in perfect health” just hours before they died.
She told Sky News she was convinced that “something suspicious” had happened to them, having enjoyed a family meal and then seen them off to bed at around 1.30am.
“I watched them die before my very eyes and they had exactly the same symptoms,” said Ms Ormerod, who found them unwell in their room at around 11am.
“I believe something suspicious has gone on. I don’t believe anyone has entered the room, but something has happened in that room and caused them to be taken away from us.”
In an earlier statement, Thomas Cook – which has removed 301 customers from the resort amid reports of a “raised level of illness among guests” – ruled out reports that carbon monoxide could have been a possible cause of the Coopers’ deaths.
The travel operator said: “We are aware of the speculation in some of today’s media that their deaths may have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Currently we have no evidence to support this.”
Hotel general manager Dieter Geiger has strongly denied “an increased incidence of illness” at the resort, and earlier claimed that a doctor’s preliminary report had indicated that the deaths were due to natural causes.
Thomas Cook has moved quickly to offer its customers at the hotel the chance to either move to another resort in Hurghada or fly home early.
The firm has deployed 24 representatives to support customers, who should all leave the hotel by the end of Friday.
One of those to have chosen to go home is Alison Cope, 44, from Birmingham, who had been at the hotel for two weeks and seen five of her seven family members fall ill during that time.
She said: “The food is just disgusting, it’s under-cooked. I know so many people have been ill.
“Half the time we don’t know what it is and can’t eat it because it’s raw in the middle. We’ve spent almost two weeks at a five-star hotel eating bread and chips because we at least know what it is.”
Another guest, Matt Higgins, has instead chosen to move his family to one of the other hotels.
He told Sky News: “Last night they came round, called us all in and were told we’re going to be moved or we can fly home.
“We’ve been slightly worried since last night, we panicked a bit, but got up this morning and had a meeting, which eased us slightly, and we decided the best thing to do would be to move hotels.
“There’s quite a few going home but there’s well over 100 getting transferred to a different hotel. But this hotel’s been nice, it’s pleasant, clean, the staff are great.
“We’ve all had upset stomachs but that’s part of the package when you go abroad sometimes.”
Back in the Cooper’s hometown of Burnley, family friend Alban Barker said they were a “really great couple” who were “both working and quite fit”.
“He looked well, did John, he was a strong man,” he added.
“They were both working and were quite fit people, his is a physical job. They both worked jolly hard and used to go on holiday regularly. They seemed to go everywhere together.”
The club is deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of season ticket holders John and Susan Cooper, who passed away while on holiday in Egypt.
The thoughts of everyone are with family and friends.
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) August 24, 2018
Mrs Cooper worked at a Thomas Cook branch in the town and had a season ticket at Burnley FC with her husband.
Ingo Burmester, chief executive of Thomas Cook UK, described Mrs Cooper as a “loyal and long-serving” employee.
“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,” he said.
“Our focus is on fully supporting their loved ones.
“We are urgently investigating with the hotel and supporting the local authorities.”
It comes just a month after the company said the hotel had last been audited, receiving an overall score of 96%.
The hotel is also rated highly on TripAdvisor, with an overall score of 4.5 stars from more than 4,000 reviews.
Meanwhile, postmortems are also still to take place on the Coopers, with the public prosecutor having also requested a testimony from their daughter.
From – SkyNews