Daughter Doesn't Buy Egypt's Account of Tourist Deaths

The latest word from officials is E. coli caused the deaths of an otherwise healthy couple
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2018 1:25 PM CDT
This Friday, Aug. 24, 2018 file photo taken from video shows the exterior of the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – Egyptian authorities say E.coli is to blame in the deaths of two British tourists who stayed at a five-star hotel on the Red Sea last month, but the couple's daughter says that idea is "absolute rubbish." John and Susan Cooper of Lancashire died Aug. 21 after they were found seriously ill in their room at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada. After she found John "extremely ill," paramedics "tried basically to save his life and they couldn't," daughter Kelly Ormerod tells Sky News, adding her mother died later at a hospital. Ormerod demanded an inquiry after Egypt's tourism ministry initially cited "respiratory failure," per the Express. On Wednesday, Egyptian general prosecutor Nabil Sadek said 69-year-old John died of acute intestinal dysentery caused by E.coli, the same bacteria likely responsible for his 63-year-old wife's deadly infection, per the BBC.

Sadek also said tests showed nothing unusual in the hotel's air or water and no toxic or harmful gas emissions or leaks in the couple's room. However, specialists commissioned by Thomas Cook, a travel company associated with the hotel, "identified a high level of E.coli and staphylococcus bacteria" related to food and hygiene standards, per Sky. That should've come as no surprise, according to a 29-year-old British woman. Elizabeth Austin tells the Sun she was compensated by Thomas Cook after contracting E.coli at the same hotel in January. But Ormerod says it's "unheard of that someone dies of E.coli in such a short space of time," and describes a strange smell in her parents' room at the all-inclusive resort. Per the Times, the room next door had been fumigated hours earlier with a farm-strength insecticide. The head of the firm responsible for the work has denied any wrongdoing, reports the BBC. (Read more Egypt stories.)

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