US & Canada

Elisa Lam death: Water from LA hotel cistern 'safe'

Elisa Lam
Image caption Lam of Vancouver had been travelling alone

Investigators are seeking the cause of death of a Canadian woman found dead in a Los Angeles hotel cistern.

Meanwhile, water sampled from the tank has been found to be safe to drink and bathe in, health officials have said.

Elisa Lam, 21, of Vancouver was found dead in the tank by a maintenance worker on Tuesday, after guests complained of low water pressure.

Guests at the Cecil Hotel said they had bathed and drunk water from the tank while she remained in it.

Officials said an autopsy on Thursday did not provide a definite cause of death, and the medical examiner's office was awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

On Thursday afternoon, tests showed the water to be safe from a "microbiological standpoint", Angelo Bellomo, Los Angeles county's director of environmental health, told the Associated Press.

Two British tourists at the hotel, Michael Baugh and his wife, said they were shocked to discover why the water had only been trickling through the taps and shower.

"The moment we found out, we felt a bit sick to the stomach, quite literally," said Mr Baugh.

Police Sgt Rudy Lopez said Lam's death was suspicious and a coroner's investigation would determine the cause.

Hotel surveillance footage before she died showed her pushing buttons in the lift, leaning through the doors and looking both ways.

Lam was travelling alone from Vancouver, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. She arrived on 26 January and hotel workers last remember seeing her five days later.

Authorities reportedly had to cut through the water tank to retrieve the body, because of the narrow opening at the top.