Egypt hotel where British couple died ‘has been death trap for years’

‘I’m surprised it took this long for someone to die’: Egypt hotel where British couple died within hours of each other ‘has been a death trap for FIVE YEARS’, ex-worker says

  • Shaun McLoughlin worked at Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in 2013
  • He claimed he got diarrhoea twice in his first nine days at the resort
  • Father of two also said food was ‘diabolical’ and heating had problems
  • John and Susan Cooper died after stay at Egyptian hotel last week 
  • Thomas Cook then evacuated 300 guests from building amid investigation 

A hotel in Egypt where a British couple died ‘has been a death trap for five years’, according to a former employee.

Father-of-two Shaun McLoughlin, 35, said he worked at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada in 2013 and claimed he raised concerns about food and heating to no avail.

It comes after John Cooper, 69, and wife Susan, 63, fell ill and died at the five-star property last week in front of their daughter Kelly Ormerod.

Travel Agent Thomas Cook evacuated 300 guests from the resort amid ‘raised levels of illness’ as the hotel dismissed claims of food poisoning as ‘speculation’ while Egyptian authorities say the deaths were due to ‘natural causes’.

Shaun McLoughlin, pictured, claims the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel ‘has been a death trap for five years’ after working there in 2013 and claiming there were issues with food and heating

Susan Cooper, 63, and her husband John Cooper, 69 (pictured together), were on holiday at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada when they died within hours of each other this week

Kelly Ormerod, 40, (pictured with her mother) said her 69-year-old father died in the hotel before she accompanied her mother, 63, to hospital in an ambulance where she died

Thomas Cook has moved all their customers and cancelled future arrivals at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel, pictured

Mr McLoughlin spent two months in Egypt and added he suffered two bouts of diarrhoea in his first nine days at the resort.

He told The Sun: ‘I worked there in 2013 and it was a death trap then. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for someone to die. Food was diabolical and boilers were fixed by people who didn’t know what they were doing.

‘In the kitchen I saw food washed with local water. I told them it was wrong but no one cared.’


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Mr McLoughlin was working at the hotel on a £200-a-week deal that was supposed to last six months, but left after just two because of a motorcycle crash.

He claimed the country was ‘corrupt’ because he was able to pay £25 to get a fitness-to-fly letter despite being ‘too sick’ for it.

Thomas Cook continues to investigate and said it would expand its probe into the deaths to include any other customer reports of illness at the hotel this summer.

Mr Cooper died before his daughter’s eyes in the five-star Aqua Magic hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada on Tuesday before his wife Susan, 63, was rushed to hospital where she also died. 

The tragedy happened in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada in eastern Egypt this week

Ms Ormerod spoke to the BBC, describing the terrifying moment she saw her father John, 69, and mother Susan, 63, Cooper gravely ill

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Ormerod said: ‘At 11 o’ clock I went to knock on the door to see if they were just having a bit of a lie in and didn’t want to be bothered, and as I opened the door I could see that my dad was extremely ill.

‘He was staggering back to the bed. Mum was laid on the bed. And I could tell there was something seriously wrong with them.’

She added that she believes something in the room killed them, despite Egyptian officials insisting their deaths were ‘normal for an old English man and his wife’ and the result of respiratory and heart failure.

Ms Ormerod claimed that her daughter noticed a smell that was ‘a little bit funny, that wasn’t right’ in the room, hours before the couple died.

She said: ‘Mum and my daughter went back to their bedroom on their own. As soon as they went into the bedroom, my daughter said they could smell something that was a little bit funny, that wasn’t right.

‘All they did was spray a little bit of perfume to try to eliminate the smell.

‘They then fell asleep and my father came back to the room an hour later, and my daughter woke up and said she felt very unwell with the smell and she wanted to come and return to my room.

‘So my dad came up to my room at about 01:30 with my daughter. He was fit and healthy and we said goodnight, see you tomorrow. ‘

Ms Ormerod added: ‘There was something in that room that’s actually killed them.

Couple reveal stomach-churning ‘raw chicken’ served at Egyptian hotel where British couple died 

A couple struck down with food poisoning at the same Egyptian hotel where two British tourists died last week have shared stomach-churning pictures of raw chicken they claim they were served.

Paul and Bev Vanstone say they got salmonella at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Egypt earlier this month.

They were holidaying at the Hurghada resort with their two children and Mr Vanstone’s mother when four of them came down with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.

It is the same hotel where John and Susan Cooper, both 64, died last Tuesday during a Thomas Cook ‘holiday of a lifetime’.


A couple struck down with food poisoning at the same Egyptian hotel where two British tourists died last week have shared stomach-churning pictures of raw chicken they claim they were served

The travel company has since removed all its guests from the hotel as a precaution.

Mr Vanstone, 41, shared photos showing raw, pink chicken he claims he was served at the hotel.

He said: ‘There was a party of six of us that went. My wife was treated for gastroenteritis, my 14-year-old daughter went down with a vomiting and diarrhoea bug and two days before leaving I had really bad stomach cramps and diarrhoea. 

‘While we were there we had to complain because we were served raw chicken. I ate that but if that had been my daughter… It was raw – very, very raw.’

The dad-of-two said he arrived home in Oxford on August 6 and went to the doctor where he was diagnosed with high levels of salmonella poisoning.

He later lodged a complaint with Thomas Cook, but said the doctor was unable to confirm exactly what made them all ill.

Mr Vanstone added: ‘It could be chicken, it could have been the water, it could have been anything that you can get salmonella from.”

Thomas Cook said that the circumstances of Mr and Mrs Cooper’s deaths were still unclear.

Bev Vanstone (pictured in hospital) was treated for gastroenteritis after eating raw, pink chicken she claims she was served at the hotel 

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of two of our customers.

‘The circumstances of their deaths are still unclear. We have also received further reports of a raised level of illness among guests.

‘Safety is always our first priority, so as a precautionary measure we have taken a decision to remove all our customers from this hotel.

‘We continue to work closely with the hotel and are supporting the authorities with their investigations.’

Dieter Geiger, general manager of the Aqua Magic hotel, said he and his staff were ‘deeply saddened’ by Mr and Mrs Cooper’s deaths.

He went on: ‘In such a circumstance, very little can be said that will help. This makes it even more important to stick to the facts.

‘The doctor’s preliminary report indicates that death was due to natural causes. There are no indications to support allegations of an increased incidence of illness at the hotel.

‘Such rash speculations should urgently be put aside out of respect for the family members of the deceased persons and for other guests.’

‘Whether they’ve inhaled something that’s poisoned them. I can only have my opinion of what was wrong.’

She has spoken to both the governor of Hurghada and the Egyptian minister of tourism over the deaths and still believes ‘something suspicious’ took place. 

Meanwhile last Saturday around 100 furious British guests landed at Manchester Airport and complained of vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

One tourist claims she was told by a Thomas Cook rep that the deaths were caused by ‘carbon monoxide coming through the air vent.’

But the company says it has found no evidence for this and Egypt’s public prosecutor has ruled it out after a technical team reported there were no toxic or harmful gas emissions and the room’s air-conditioning unit was ‘sound’.

 Governor Ahmed Abd Alla told Mail Online he was ‘annoyed’ by what he saw as hysteria and speculation that followed the tragedies.

He said: ‘Only four of the 16 who went to hospital after were English and some of the reasons were because they had swallowed sea water while swimming or had been in the sun too long.

‘They had problems with the heat too. But I went to the hotel myself and I have seen the fine conditions. Let me tell you there are 1995 guests in that hotel this weekend and they have no problems.’

He denied that a cover up was going on and said he had demanded a full investigation with an expert team analysing any aspect of the hotel which might have led to the Coopers taking ill before they died.

Hurghada Governor Ahmed Abd Alla (pictured in suit next to Ms Ormerod) is pictured with Kelly Ormerod (pictured on the phone) the daughter of John and Susan Cooper who died within hours of each other on holiday at an Egyptian hotel

At 3.30am Saturday around 100 furious British guests landed at Manchester Airport and complained of vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Pictured: Holidaymaker Tracy Wooffindin as she lands back in the UK 

One customer shared a letter they had received from Thomas Cook after landing at Manchester

As previously reported, chief executive of Thomas Cook, Peter Fankhauser, said the couple’s family would ‘hopefully’ find out the cause of their deaths in 10 days, when tests are completed.

He said today: ‘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.’

‘Twenty-four hours after the couple died we had we had our specialists… in the hotel. They took probes of the food, of the hygienic systems, of water, as well 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.’

‘My Mum had a heart attack and the whole family fell ill’: Holidaymakers reveal their horrors of staying at the Aqua Magic hotel

By Charlie Moore 

The Aqua Magic hotel is owned by Deutsche Hospitality, a German company with dozens of luxury hotels across the globe.

TripAdvisor and social media reviews show the Aqua Magic has received numerous complaints over food poisoning and poor general hygiene in the past – but Thomas Cook said its review of the hotel in July showed nothing untoward.

Since the news of Tuesday’s double deaths, dozens of MailOnline readers have shared their past experiences of sickness at the hotel.

Thomas Cook is in the process of moving worried guests to different hotels from the Aqua Magic (pictured)

Janet Simpson, from Sheffield wrote: ‘My parents who are both in their 70’s went in May 18 – 28 for their holiday to the said hotel.

‘Whilst on holiday mum was not feeling right and was tired all the time as was dad. They didn’t think nothing of it as the temperature in May was really high.

‘When back home in June, mum had a heart attack, and had to be admitted to hospital. After hearing the news of the same hotel resort now, mum is believing that it could have been brought on by carbon monoxide that slowly got into hers and dads system. It’s a great worry to think this could have happen.’ 

Jane Coxon wrote: ‘I stayed here about four years ago for one week and was really ill. 

‘I chewed a piece of raw chicken served in a sauce. It felt cold so I spat it out and saw it wasn’t cooked. I was ill for two weeks with diahorrea and a temperature and god awful stomach pain. 

‘I saw my GP at home and sent a sample away which he said would be campylobacterosis and I was told my stomach would probably always remain delicate.

Thomas Cook’s move comes amid a food poisoning scare at the hotel

‘I complained to Thomas Cook and after four months they refunded the cost of my holiday as compensation. I didn’t realise I was entitled to so much more. I will never go to Egypt again!’

Brett Shemwell added: ‘I stayed at the hotel two years ago and both myself and my partner were ill, I travelled with Thomas cook as well, my partner who is a diabetic was in bed for two days with a bug whilst we were there.’ 

Bryony Allen wrote: ‘My best friend has recently got back from that hotel and she spent 10 days out of 14 ill with vomiting and diahorra, she was literally bed bound. 

‘She is 26 and fit and healthy but it completely drained her. Everyone in the family was ill. Her mother in law was so bad she actually soiled herself on the plane home’

Online reviews of the hotel are not all bad, however, with many people saying they loved their stay there. 

One customer Wayne Ogden told MailOnline: ‘We stayed at the hotel in April for two weeks. The hotel was excellent. The staff were great, especially with the children. The food and drinks was some of the best we have had from an All Inclusive resort. We would not hesitate to book again.’  

Dieter Geiger, General Manager at Aqua Magic, released a statement to MailOnline saying he was ‘saddened’ by the deaths and dismissed ‘speculation’ over food poisoning.

Thomas Cook said: ‘The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel was last audited by Thomas Cook in late July 2018 and received an overall score of 96 per cent.’ 

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