'Mum and Dad died in front of me': Daughter of British couple who passed away on Egypt holiday demands answers about what killed her parents as it's claimed at least 40 guests have been ill and 'on their knees' with food poisoning

John and Susan Cooper died with hours of each other at hotel in Egypt They were staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Hurghada It was first claimed he died of a heart attack and she died of 'grief' later Some friends fear carbon monoxide poisoning others fear food poisoning Thomas Cook is evacuating all 300 guests from the hotel as a precaution Have you recently stayed at the hotel or are you due to stay at it? If so email [email protected]

24 August 2018 - 14:02

The daughter of a British couple who suddenly died on holiday in Egypt has today revealed how both her 'fit and healthy' parents passed away in front of her.

Kelly Ormerod, 40, said her 69-year-old father John Cooper died in their hotel before she accompanied her mother, 63, to hospital in an ambulance where she also died.

The family were on a 'trip of a lifetime' to the five-star Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada with Mrs Ormerod's three children when the tragedy struck on Tuesday.

Mrs Ormerod is now demanding answers as dozens of Thomas Cook customers being evacuated from the hotel report being 'on their knees with food poisoning.' 

Shattered: Kelly Ormerod, 40, (pictured with her mother) said her 69-year-old father John Cooper died in the hotel before she accompanied her mother, 63, to hospital in an ambulance where she also died


Devoted: Susan Cooper, 63, and her husband John Cooper, 69 (pictured together), were on holiday at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada

Devoted: Susan Cooper, 63, and her husband John Cooper, 69 (pictured together), were on holiday at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada

In a statement to Lancashire-based radio station 2BR, Mrs Ormerod said today: '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 under way.

'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.'

Thomas Cook today is evacuating all 300 of its guests from the hotel as customers returning home tell MailOnline they are 'sick as pigs' and 'can't get out of bed.' 


Trip of a lifetime: The pair were staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel (pictured) in the resort 

Trip of a lifetime: The pair were staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel (pictured) in the resort 


The travel agent is now facing a backlash from furious customers who claim the company did not act quick enough after guests reported being struck down with suspected food poisoning until the double deaths on Tuesday 

The travel agent is now facing a backlash from furious customers who claim the company did not act quick enough after guests reported being struck down with suspected food poisoning until the double deaths on Tuesday 



Thomas Cook is today in the process of moving worried guests to different hotels. Pictured: One customer offered her condolences

Thomas Cook is today in the process of moving worried guests to different hotels. Pictured: One customer offered her condolences

The travel agent is now facing a backlash from furious customers who claim the company did not act quick enough after guests reported being struck down with suspected food poisoning until the double deaths on Tuesday.

Thomas Cook refused to comment on food poisoning when contacted this morning by MailOnline as the Aqua Magic hotel dismissed claims of food poisoning as 'rash speculation.'

The Aqua Magic hotel is owned by Deutsche Hospitality, a German company with dozens of luxury hotels across the globe.

TripAdvisor and social media reviews show the Aqua Magic has received numerous complaints over food poisoning and poor general hygiene in the past - but Thomas Cook said its review of the hotel in July showed nothing untoward.

Dieter Geiger, General Manager at Aqua Magic, released a statement to MailOnline today dismissing 'speculation' over food poisoning.

It 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.

'My Mum had a heart attack and the whole family fell ill': Holidaymakers reveal their horrors of staying at the Aqua Magic hotel

By Charlie Moore 

The Aqua Magic hotel is owned by Deutsche Hospitality, a German company with dozens of luxury hotels across the globe.

TripAdvisor and social media reviews show the Aqua Magic has received numerous complaints over food poisoning and poor general hygiene in the past - but Thomas Cook said its review of the hotel in July showed nothing untoward.

Since the news of Tuesday's double deaths, dozens of MailOnline readers have shared their past experiences of sickness at the hotel.

Thomas Cook is today in the process of moving worried guests to different hotels from the Aqua Magic (pictured)

Thomas Cook is today in the process of moving worried guests to different hotels from the Aqua Magic (pictured)

Janet Simpson, from Sheffield wrote: 'My parents who are both in their 70's went in May 18 - 28 for their holiday to the said hotel.

'Whilst on holiday mum was not feeling right and was tired all the time as was dad. They didn't think nothing of it as the temperature in May was really high.

'When back home in June, mum had a heart attack, and had to be admitted to hospital. After hearing the news of the same hotel resort now, mum is believing that it could have been brought on by carbon monoxide that slowly got into hers and dads system. It's a great worry to think this could have happen.' 

Jane Coxon wrote: 'I stayed here about four years ago for one week and was really ill. 

'I chewed a piece of raw chicken served in a sauce. It felt cold so I spat it out and saw it wasn't cooked. I was ill for two weeks with diahorrea and a temperature and god awful stomach pain. 

'I saw my GP at home and sent a sample away which he said would be campylobacterosis and I was told my stomach would probably always remain delicate.

Thomas Cook's move comes amid a food poisoning scare at the hotel

Thomas Cook's move comes amid a food poisoning scare at the hotel

'I complained to Thomas Cook and after four months they refunded the cost of my holiday as compensation. I didn't realise I was entitled to so much more. I will never go to Egypt again!'

Brett Shemwell added: 'I stayed at the hotel two years ago and both myself and my partner were ill, I travelled with Thomas cook as well, my partner who is a diabetic was in bed for two days with a bug whilst we were there.' 

Bryony Allen wrote: 'My best friend has recently got back from that hotel and she spent 10 days out of 14 ill with vomiting and diahorra, she was literally bed bound. 

'She is 26 and fit and healthy but it completely drained her. Everyone in the family was ill. Her mother in law was so bad she actually soiled herself on the plane home'

Online reviews of the hotel are not all bad, however, with many people saying they loved their stay there. 

One customer Wayne Ogden told MailOnline: 'We stayed at the hotel in April for two weeks. The hotel was excellent. The staff were great, especially with the children. The food and drinks was some of the best we have had from an All Inclusive resort. We would not hesitate to book again.'  

Dieter Geiger, General Manager at Aqua Magic, released a statement to MailOnline saying he was 'saddened' by the deaths and dismissed 'speculation' over food poisoning.

Thomas Cook said: 'The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel was last audited by Thomas Cook in late July 2018 and received an overall score of 96 per cent.'

'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.' 

After Mr and Mrs Cooper passed away on Tuesday, officials initially claimed the Burnley couple died of natural causes, saying Mr Cooper suffered a heart attack and his wife died of 'grief' from the shock.

Friends last night said they feared either carbon monoxide or food poisoning may have killed them as Thomas Cook admitted a 'raised level of illness' among guests.

One guest at the hotel, Alison Cope, said at least 40 tourists fell ill at the hotel during her holiday there this week.

She told BBC Radio4: 'At least forty people have had sickness, diarrhoea and feeling unwell but Thomas Cook was keeping it very quiet.


One customer at the Aqua Magic hotel said that he had not been told about the deaths and did not know what was going on

One customer at the Aqua Magic hotel said that he had not been told about the deaths and did not know what was going on


'The loveliest couple': Mrs Cooper, a long-serving Thomas Cook employee in her hometown of Burnley, died 'of grief' just hours after her husband (pictured together)

'The loveliest couple': Mrs Cooper, a long-serving Thomas Cook employee in her hometown of Burnley, died 'of grief' just hours after her husband (pictured together)

'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.'

The holidaymaker from Birmingham said the travel company only took complaints of sickness seriously following the double deaths, saying: 'After doing nothing they suddenly acted and the fact they got so many senior managers here wasn't a surprise.'

Another man from Birmingham, who did not want to be named, told MailOnline his 16-year-old daughter is still 'on her knees with food poisoning' after falling ill at the Aqua Magic last week.

He said: 'She was on holiday with her boyfriend and three other families and many of them became ill.


A devastated friend of the couple (pictured) told MailOnline: 'They were the loveliest couple you could every wish to meet'

A devastated friend of the couple (pictured) told MailOnline: 'They were the loveliest couple you could every wish to meet'

'We flew her home and she's been extremely ill ever since - her mum's been crying and so worried about her. The Queen Elizabeth hospital confirmed it was food poisoning.'

Thomas Cook is today in the process of moving worried guests to different hotels as some claimed they had not been told about the deaths until they saw them on the news.

The travel agent is offering Aqua Magic guests a flight home or a different hotel and has cancelled future arrivals, offering them 'alternative holiday options.'

It said the move was a 'precautionary measure' due to a 'raised level of illness among guests'.

Other travel companies who use the hotel, such as Sharm Travel, are also evacuating customers.  


Several customers were flown home from the Aqua Magic hotel by Thomas Cook

Several customers were flown home from the Aqua Magic hotel by Thomas Cook


One customer at the hotel said the place was 'full of senior Thomas Cook management'

One customer at the hotel said the place was 'full of senior Thomas Cook management'


Thomas Cook has moved all their customers and cancelled future arrivals, offering them alternative holiday options. Pictured: Customers in the lobby of the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel

Thomas Cook has moved all their customers and cancelled future arrivals, offering them alternative holiday options. Pictured: Customers in the lobby of the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel


How Thomas Cook warned holidaymakers against making false compensation claims after winning cases in court

By Jennifer Newton 

Last year Thomas Cook warned holidaymakers against making fraudulent claims of being ill on holiday saying they would challenge cases in court.

It came after the holiday company secured its first victory in a campaign against fake holiday sickness claims when they won a court battle against Julie Lavelle, 33, and her partner Michael McIntyre, 34.

The couple said they and their two children had vomiting and diarrhoea during their stay at the Parque Cristobal Hotel on Gran Canaria in 2013.

But Mr McIntyre allegedly had six pints of beer in Las Palmas Airport before flying back to the UK when he was meant to have gastroenteritis.

The couple had demanded £100,000 in compensation from Thomas Cook by a county court in Liverpool ordered them to pay the travel giant £3,744 compensation.

And speaking after the verdict, Thomas Cook managing director Chris Mottershead said: 'It's not comfortable for us to be in court questioning our customers' credibility, but the significant increase in unreported illness claims being received by the travel industry threatens holidays for all UK customers.

'This case follows an increasingly common pattern for these claims, with a previously unreported illness being raised years after the holiday with no medical or other evidence to support the illness having occurred.

'In these cases, we will not accept liability and we will take further action where we believe it is necessary to protect all of our customers.'

Meanwhile on the Thomas Cook website, the firm make a stern warning about submitting fraudulent claims.

It says: 'In the last couple of years there has been an increase in claims management companies and touts in resorts targeting British holiday makers. The offer is simple; say you have been ill on holiday and you could get thousands of pounds in compensation.

'Making a false compensation claim for holiday sickness is an act of fraud. If prosecuted it could result in a jail term, criminal record and a large fine. 

'In the last year there has been a series of cases where UK holidaymakers have had their illness claims dismissed in court and had to pay large legal costs or in some cases have gone to jail.' 

Last night Ahmed Abdallah, the governor of Herghada, said Kelly Ormerod suspected carbon monoxide killed her parents.

He told The Times: 'Their daughter said to the prosecutors that there might have been a leaking air conditioner.

'This claim is not logical because the air conditioner of the hotel is central and if there is a leak it would have affected all the 2,500 guests at the hotel.

'Also, we took a sample of the food of the hotel for testing. But if there is a problem with the food it would have affected other people.'  

The governor said the daughter's claim had led to an order for an autopsy on her mother, but there would be no post-mortem examination of Mr Cooper as he had 'clearly suffered a heart attack.' 

It comes 11 years after Thomas Cook was rocked by the deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, aged six and seven, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel, in Corfu, in October 2006.

At their inquest, it was found the firm breached its duty of care over the deaths.  There is no suggestion the latest incident has any link to that case. 

It was last night reported that Mrs Ormerod, who lives a mile away from her parents in the village of Worsthorne,  was also believed to have fallen also fallen ill - but she did not mention this in her statement.

One friend told The Sun they suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. 'No one can be sure until the post mortem,' they said.

'Some people have heard that Kelly felt unwell and went for a walk. When she came back her parents were dead.'

Several past guests of the hotel have said online that they have fallen ill since staying there and say the standards are poor at the resort.

One guest, Daley Thompson, Tweeted yesterday: 'I came back from aqua magic last Saturday and have had bad guts since! Do I need to worry after the news that as been released tonight?'

Kal-Sham said on a TripAdvisor review of the resort in May: 'All 4 of us got ill (vomiting & diarrhoea) and ended up in hospital with the children (aged 2.5 & 1). My son was hospitalised again on our return.'

He added that he saw 'birds eating at the food' that the 'bathroom was smelly' and 'waiters were not friendly towards children.'

In their statement, Thomas Cook said they were 'deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of two of our customers' at the hotel. They said the cause of the deaths was 'still unclear'. 


Other travel companies who use the hotel, such as Sharm Travel, are also evacuating guests

Other travel companies who use the hotel, such as Sharm Travel, are also evacuating guests


 Mrs Cooper, a long-serving Thomas Cook employee, died 'of grief' just hours later after her husband died of a heart attack, it has been claimed

 Mrs Cooper, a long-serving Thomas Cook employee, died 'of grief' just hours later after her husband died of a heart attack, it has been claimed


The travel firm said there has been an increased level of illness among guests. Pictured a room in the hotel

The travel firm said there has been an increased level of illness among guests. Pictured a room in the hotel


One of the tourists was a Thomas Cook employee at the Burnley branch (pictured) of the travel agent

On Facebook, Alison Cope, said: 'This is the hotel we are in. Thomas Cook are moving all their customers out tomorrow due to an increase in sickness! I wish all the Cooper family love and respect and am I very sorry for their loss.

'I think the food standards in the hotel have been very poor and the hotel is full of senior Thomas Cook Management due to the very sad deaths. The cause of death hasn't been officially released but they are taking things very seriously.'

Mr Cooper, who ran his own building company in their hometown of Burnley, Lancashire, had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital where he died on Tuesday.

Susan was a long-serving Thomas Cook employee, died 'of grief' just hours later, said Dr Maged Eledawy, the head of Hurghada Hospital.

Sources in Egypt initially told MailOnline Mrs Cooper died due to low blood pressure which lead to her heart stopping.

It is thought the low blood pressure was caused by the nervous shock she experienced when her husband passed away.

Heartbroken Kelly was believed to still be in Hurghada today with her husband Daren, and the pair were being supported by the British Foreign Office.

A neighbour of Kelly's said: '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.'



Some of the one-star reviews the hotel has received on TripAdvisor

Some of the one-star reviews the hotel has received on TripAdvisor

Mrs Ormerod lives just a mile away from her parents' luxury home in Burnley, Lancashire, which was lovingly built by her father. He ran a reputable building company JJ Cooper 'Safe As Houses.'

A devastated friend of the couple told MailOnline: 'They were the loveliest couple you could ever wish to meet.

'They were devoted to each other and couldn't live without each other. Our hearts are breaking. This is such sad news.'

A neighbour, named as Gillian, described the pair as 'sociable and popular, adding: 'They loved travelling and had been all over.

They were the nicest people, warm and welcoming 
A friend on John and Susan Cooper

'They were the nicest people, warm and welcoming, and always had a smile for you. They were pure gold and you don't find many couples like them.

'I can't believe they've gone. It is so tragic.'

Another neighbour added: 'We've heard the news, and it's heartbreaking.

'They were a lovely couple. It's a total tragedy and our hearts go out to the family'.

The Burnley Thomas Cook store where Mrs Cooper worked was shut today with a sign on the door reading: 'Due to unforeseen circumstances this store will be closed.'

A colleague at a nearby Thomas Cook store said: 'We are a close team and we know the member of staff who died. It is heartbreaking and tragic.

'Mrs Cooper had gone on a trip of a lifetime and sadly will never come back. The store is closed as a sign of respect.

'The team there are devastated and closed up shop yesterday.'

Thomas Cook's Head of Customer Welfare, Carol Mackenzie, flew to Hurghada Wednesday night to offer support to the couple's families.


A notice on the door of the Thomas Cook store says: 'Due to unforeseen circumstances this store will be closed today'

A notice on the door of the Thomas Cook store says: 'Due to unforeseen circumstances this store will be closed today'

The company said in a statement: '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.'

They added: '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.

'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 Thomas Cook website describes Hurghada as 'the capital of the Red Sea Riviera, where beautiful beaches, vibrant nightclubs and world-class diving destinations await.'


The Thomas Cook website describes Hurghada (pictured) as 'the capital of the Red Sea Riviera

The Thomas Cook website describes Hurghada (pictured) as 'the capital of the Red Sea Riviera

The company offers all-inclusive holidays to around 20 hotels there.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'We are supporting the family of a British couple who died in Hurghada, Egypt and we are in contact with the local tour operator.'

Last year Hurghada was thrown into chaos when a knifeman killed two German women and injured four tourists on the beach.

Police said the assailant swam from a nearby beach before stabbing people while shouting: 'Stay away, I don't want Egyptians.'

In January 2016, three foreign tourists were stabbed at the same resort by two suspected ISIS militants.


Source: daily mail
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