Tour operator Thomas Cook on Friday said it was evacuating all 301 of its customers from a hotel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Hurghada as a precautionary measure after two British guests at the hotel died within hours under unclear circumstances on Tuesday.
The move came after John Cooper, 69, and Susan Cooper, 63, from Burnley in northern England, died after a heart attack while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel.
Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod said that her father John, died in his hotel room while her mother, a Thomas Cook employee, died in the ambulance on the way to hospital, adding her parents were ‘fit and healthy’.
“Prior to going on holiday, Mum and Dad were fit and healthy. They had no health problems at all,” Ormerod said.
“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,” Ormerod told the Lancashire-based radio station 2BR.
On Thursday, Thomas Cook said in a statement that the circumstances of their deaths were still unclear and it had received further reports of illness among guests at the hotel.
The decision to evacuate 301 holiday makers from the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel is a “precautionary measure,” the company said, adding that the guests will be offered alternative hotels or the option to return home.
“We continue to work closely with the hotel and are supporting the authorities with their investigations,” it said.
Thomas Cook audited the Steigenberger Aqua Magic in July,2018 and received an overall score of 96 per cent.
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Thomas Cook said that while the company was aware of the speculation, there was “no evidence to support this.”
An Egyptian official told The Associated Press that an investigation was still underway but that the deaths were likely due to ‘natural causes.
“The prosecution on Friday ordered autopsies after the Coopers’ daughter requested blood analysis to further look into reasons behind their deaths. The Cooper family had spent seven out of their 10-day vacation in the hotel when the deaths occurred,” the official said.
Forensic examination of John Cooper, who died on Tuesday, revealed he had suffered acute circulatory collapse and a sudden cardiac arrest, according to an official statement posted by the Red Sea governorate on Facebook on Friday.
The statement dismissed criminal motives as being behind the deaths and said legal procedures would be underway for the transfer of the bodies upon the conclusion of the autopsy.
(With inputs from agencies)