NEWS
28/08/2018 15:47 BST | Updated 28/08/2018 16:32 BST

Egypt Thomas Cook Hotel Deaths: Official Confirms ‘Strange Odour’ In John And Susan Cooper’s Room

John and Susan Cooper died within hours of each other.

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John and Susan Cooper died last Monday  

The governor in charge of the Red Sea resort where two British tourists died has confirmed there was a “strange odour” in their room.

John and Susan Cooper, from Burnley, Lancashire, died while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada last Monday night.

Major General Ahmed Adbullah told reporters the room had been sealed off so all ventilation and air conditioning could be checked.  An earlier inspection had shown there were no toxic or harmful gas emissions or leaks, according to a statement by prosecutor Nabil Sadeq on Saturday.

It also said his office was waiting for a forensic analysis of samples taken from the bodies.

According to Reuters, an initial statement from the Red Sea provincial governor’s office, entitled “normal death of an English old man and his wife”, said both had died of heart failure.

MOHAMED EL-SHAHED via Getty Images
The Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel, in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Hurghada

But Kelly Ormerod, the couple’s daughter, said there was “something suspicious” behind their deaths.

She told the BBC: “When they went back to that room that evening, there was something in that room that’s actually killed them. Whether they’ve inhaled something that’s poisoned them, I don’t know. I can only have my opinion of what’s gone on, but there’s something’s that happened in that room that killed my parents.”

Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser told Sky News: “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.

“There is no evidence that it is a carbon monoxide poisoning. We have no evidence but I don’t want to rule out anything before I really know the cause.”

Fankhauser added: “Twenty-four hours after the couple died, we had our specialists… in the hotel. They took probes of the food, of the hygienic systems, of water, as well as the air conditioning systems, and all those probes are now in Egypt.

“They are now examining and testing the probes and we support them in doing that, but that takes about 10 days.”

Mr Cooper, 69, died in his room while Mrs Cooper, 63, a Thomas Cook employee, died after being taken to hospital, according to Ormerod.

Their daughter said they were “fit and healthy” before their holiday and in “perfect health” just hours before being taken ill.

Fankhauser said Thomas Cook decided to move 300 guests out of the hotel 24 hours later as a precaution after becoming aware of an “increased number” of illnesses.

He confirmed that 13 customers had food poisoning, but were not in a serious condition.

The chief executive told ITV Thomas Cook had learned “hard lessons” over its health and safety systems following the deaths of two children in Corfu.

He said: “We have taken hard lessons on our health and safety systems and we are a totally different company to three years ago.”

Christi and Bobby Shepherd died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Thomas Cook holiday bungalow in 2006.

A 2015 inquest jury concluded the tour operator had breached its duty of care.