British couple die during Egyptian holiday, as 300 tourists evacuated from hotel over "raised level of illness"
Daughter of deceased British couple demands to know the cause of death from Egyptian hotel where many were reported to be "on their knees with food poisoning"
The daughter of a British couple who passed away while on vacation in Egypt has revealed that her parents were both "fit and healthy" and died in front of her eyes. Forty-year-old Kelly Ormerod shared that her father John Cooper died in their hotel before she lost her mother Susan who was being taken to hospital in an ambulance.
The family was on a "trip of a lifetime" to the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel which is located in Hurghada with Ormerod's three children when the horrific and tragic incident struck on Tuesday. Ormerod is presently demanding answers as many Thomas Cook customers are being evacuated from the hotel following a report that they were "on their knees with food poisoning". She is demanding to know how her parents died.
While some have suggested the couple may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, Thomas Cook said it had found no evidence of carbon monoxide issues or food poisoning but did not "rule anything in or out" as investigations continue.
Furthermore, there are conflicting reports about the situation as the travel agent said it was evacuating 301 guests over a "raised level of illness:, while the Aqua Magic hotel claimed that there was no one else ill.
In a statement to radio station 2BR, Ormerod shared, "As a family, we are devastated. Mum and Dad meant the world to me and the children, and we are in utter shock over what has happened and what is happening. Prior to going on holiday, Mum and Dad were fit and healthy. They had no health problems at all. What I want is to clear up some of what is being reported. We have no cause of death, a post-mortem is underway".
"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. Thomas Cook have been amazing, we have support from the company and I can't praise them enough for what they've done. My focus is on getting my children home. All we want is answers about what has happened and a cause of death. I'd also like to thank people at home for their messages of love and support during this horrendous ordeal," the statement continued.
The head of the Heghada hospital and a local police official claimed that the couple had passed away due to natural causes as speculation grows over food poisoning, as DailyMail reported. Thomas Cook will be evacuating around 300 guests from the hotel as customers reveal that they are "sick as pigs" and "can't get out of bed". The travel agent is also facing a lot of backlash for not acting fast enough.
The general manager at the Aqua Magic Dieter Geiger released a statement which read, "We are deeply saddened by the deaths. In such a circumstance, very little can be said that will help. This makes it even more important to stick to the facts. The doctor’s preliminary report indicates that death was due to natural causes. There are no indications to support allegations of an increased incidence of illness at the hotel".
"Such rash speculations should urgently be put aside out of respect for the family members of the deceased persons and for other guests," the statement continued.
One of the guests Alison Cope told BBC Radio4, "At least forty people have had sickness, diarrhea and feeling unwell but Thomas Cook was keeping it very quiet. I think it was the food, it was very low standard and it was undercooked and raw at times and a lot of people were being very ill. There was a problem and Thomas Cook have now dealt with it in the correct way. I don't know the causes of death of the people who passed away".
A neighbor of Kelly Ormerod shared, "She is beside herself with grief. She is so close to both her parents, particularly her mum, who was her best friend. Our hearts go out to her, we don't know how she'll cope with such a sudden and shocking loss. They are well known and much loved in the community. This is a devastating blow".
Carol Mackenzie who is the head of Customer Welfare of Thomas Cook flew into Hurghada to offer support. The company released a statement which read, "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".
"Safety is always our first priority, so as a precautionary measure we have taken a decision to remove all our customers from this hotel. We will be offering customers alternative hotels within Hurghada, as well as giving them the option to return home. For those customers who choose to come home, we have made arrangements to fly them back tomorrow, 24 August. While we understand this is upsetting for those on holiday, we believe this is the right thing to do," the statement continued.
"We continue to work closely with the hotel and are supporting the authorities with their investigations. The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel was last audited by Thomas Cook in late July 2018 and received an overall score of 96%. 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," the statement further added.