British couple in Red Sea hotel died of natural causes: Egypt's Ministry of Tourism

Ahram Online , Friday 24 Aug 2018

Minister of Tourism Al-Mashat said Egyptians are saddened by the death of the holidaymakers, vowing to take all precautions to ensure safety of other tourists as well as an inquiry to eliminate concerns about their health

The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt. (Photo: AP)

Egypt's Ministry of Tourism said in a statement on Friday morning that a preliminary medical examination report shows that the British couple who died on Tuesday in the Hurghada in the Red Sea governorate died of natural causes and that there was no evidence of criminal foul play. 

The ministry explained that it was coordinating with the local authorities from the governorate, tourism police, and Thomas Cook, the holiday company that organized the trip for the deceased couple, to follow up on the case.

In the evening, Egypt's Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat issued a statement saying: “Everyone in Egypt is extremely saddened at the deaths of British holidaymakers John and Susan Cooper in Hurghada and our thoughts and prayers are with their family at this extremely difficult time. ” 

On Tuesday, John Cooper, 69 died at his hotel room at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada and the preliminary medical examination shows that the cause was respiratory heart failure, and there was no evidence of criminal foul play, the statement said.

According to the ministry's statement, shortly thereafter, his wife Susan Cooper, 64, was transferred to the local Aseel hospital after she suffered loss of consciousness, but the efforts to resuscitate her failed. Preliminary medical report shows she died of respiratory failure, and there was no evidence of criminal foul play

Meanwhile, Egypt's prosecutor general Nabil Sadek issued a statement on Friday saying that the medical examiner assigned by the prosecution in the case of investigating the death of the two British tourists,  who had arrived in Hurghada on 14 August as part of a tour group, found no signs of criminal violence or defensive wounds on the two bodies during the preliminary, visual autopsy.

Earlier on Friday. Thomas Cook issued a statement saying that "we are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of two of our customers who were staying in the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt. The circumstances of their deaths remain unclear."

"We are aware of the speculation in some of today’s media that their deaths may have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Currently we have no evidence to support this," Thomas Cook said.

In her statement, Minister Al-Mashat promised: "We will take every precaution to make sure other tourists are safe and a senior working group will shortly conduct a detailed investigation to eliminate any other possible concerns about the health and well-being of other holidaymakers in the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel." 

Meanwhile Egyptian prosecutors, who are currently investigating the matter, are expected to interview the couple’s daughter for more information on the case.

The prosecutors have ordered an autopsy for the deceased, and notified the British embassy to take its measures to return the bodies of the deceased, the statement explained.

Thomas Cook said it offered its 300 customers at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel, where the incident took place, the choice to move from the hotel as a precautionary measure after the death of the Coopers or to fly them back to Britain instead.

Minister Al-Mashat said in her statement: “Most have decided to continue with their holidays in Hurghada," and promised that “Further updates will be provided as and when any new information is available.”

Thomas Cook explained in its Friday statement it had last audited the hotel in late July 2018 and it had received an overall score of 96 percent.

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