Two Britons die under 'suspicious' circumstances at hotel in Egypt's Hurghada; officials rule out gas leak

Engineers have found no fault in the air conditioning unit or any other equipment in the Egyptian hotel room of a British couple on holiday, who died within hours of each other, the public prosecutor said on Saturday.

Tour operator Thomas Cook has moved all its customers from the hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada after the couple died in what their daughter on Friday called "suspicious" circumstances.

The Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Egypt's Red Sea resort in Hurghada, where a British couple on holiday died within hours of each other a day before. AFP

The Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Egypt's Red Sea resort in Hurghada, where a British couple on holiday died within hours of each other a day before. AFP

The company said it was unclear what had caused the deaths on Tuesday of the Britons, identified as 69-year-old John and Susan Cooper, 63, from Burnley in northern England.

Experts from the engineering faculty of Ganoub el-Wadi University were called in to inspect the room at the plush Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel, Egypt's public prosecutor said in a statement.

"They examined and carefully checked all devices present in the room, especially the air conditioning," which British media have said could have resulted in carbon monoxide poisoning through a gas leak, it said. "The committee (of experts) documented in its report that all the appliances were safe and that no leakages or any poisonous or dangerous gases were present".

The prosecutor's office added that it was still awaiting the forensics' report of samples taken from the couple.

A medical source in Hurghada told AFP that the bodies were being kept in a local hospital and doctors were waiting for authorisation from prosecutors to release them to relatives or UK diplomats.

Investigators from the local prosecutor's office have already examined both bodies and the couple's hotel room and found nothing abnormal, a judicial source said Friday. "An (initial) autopsy found no signs of criminal violence or of a struggle," according to the prosecutor general's office. "The necessary samples were taken so laboratory tests can be run to determine the cause of death."

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, said both her parents fell ill suddenly, and her father had died in his hotel room while her mother passed away hours later in hospital.

"They had no illness, no stomach upset, no vomiting, no illness whatsoever -- they were in perfect health when they went to bed," she told Sky News. "I believe something suspicious has gone on... something has happened in that room and caused them to be taken away from us."

The tourism ministry has said a medical examination showed that John Cooper "experienced an extreme drop in the blood circulation and a sudden stop of the heart muscle".

A security official said he died "of a heart attack", while the cause of his wife's death was reported as "halt of blood circulation and her respiratory functions".

Thomas Cook said Thursday it had received reports of "a raised level of illness" among some of its other 300 customers at the Steigenberger. But the hotel management told AFP there were "no indications to support allegations of an increased incidence of illness".


Updated Date: Aug 25, 2018 20:30 PM

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