David Mercer, news reporter
Mystery continues to surround the sudden deaths of a British couple at an Egyptian hotel.
John and Susan Cooper were on a Thomas Cook holiday when they fell ill at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada.
Here, Sky News looks at the circumstances of the couple’s deaths and the concerns that some guests have raised about the resort.
Who were the couple who died?
Mr Cooper, 69, and Mrs Cooper, 63, from Burney in Lancashire, were on holiday with their daughter and her three children.
Mrs Cooper was an employee of Thomas Cook and worked at a branch in her home town, while Mr Cooper was a builder.
They were season ticket-holders at Burnley football club and Mr Cooper was also a clay pigeon shooting enthusiast, according to a friend.
How did the couple die?
Mr and Mrs Cooper fell ill on the morning of Tuesday 21 August.
Kelly Ormerod said her parents were fit and well when they went to bed at around 1.30am after a family meal.
But after going to check on her parents in their hotel room at about 11am, she found they were “extremely ill”.
Medical help was called to the room, but Mr Cooper could not be saved and Mrs Cooper died after being taken to hospital by ambulance.
What was the cause of death?
The governor’s office in Hurghada gave the cause of Mr Cooper’s death as “a sudden stoppage of the heart muscles and respiratory failure”. Mrs Cooper was said to have died due to “a stoppage of circulation and respiratory failure”.
There was “no reason” to suspect the deaths were of a “criminal nature”, the office said.
But Ms Ormerod believes “something suspicious” caused her parents’ deaths.
She told Sky News: “They had no illness, no stomach upset, no vomiting, no illness whatsoever – they were in perfect health when they went to bed
“I watched them die before my very eyes and they had exactly the same symptoms.
“I believe something suspicious has gone on. I don’t believe anyone has entered the room, but something has happened in that room that caused them to be taken away from us.”
Thomas Cook said there was no evidence to suggest that carbon monoxide poisoning was behind the deaths.
What has happened to the other guests at the hotel?
Thomas Cook removed all of its 301 customers from the resort amid reports of a “raised level of illness among guests”.
Holidaymakers were offered alternative hotels “as a precautionary measure” as well as the option of returning home.
“Safety is always our first priority, so as a precautionary measure we have taken a decision to remove all our customers from this hotel,” Thomas Cook said.
However, hotel general manager Dieter Geiger strongly denied there was “an increased incidence of illness” at the resort.
What other concerns have been raised about the hotel?
After the Coopers’ deaths, it emerged at least 20 people have brought legal claims against the Steigenderger Aqua Magic Hotel.
Nick Harris, a partner at law firm Simpson Millar who is representing the group, said his clients had reported becoming unwell after recent stays at the resort.
He told Sky News the complaints concerned hygiene standards at the hotel.
A Thomas Cook spokesman said the travel firm was aware of a number of customers who had come forward to say they became ill while staying at the hotel.
A spokesman for the company said: “We are very sorry for those customers whose holidays have been spoiled.
“We take all illness very seriously and we will continue to investigate any outstanding cases.”
What do we know about the hotel?
According to Thomas Cook, the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel was last audited by the travel firm in July and received an overall score of 96%.
The hotel is also rated highly on TripAdvisor, with an overall score of 4.5 stars from more than 4,000 reviews.
A listing for the hotel on the Thomas Cook website includes a line saying: “Sorry, there is currently no availability.”
From – SkyNews