Payout for salmonella at Egypt deaths hotel

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Image caption,
John and Susan Cooper died on 21 August while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Hurghada

A holidaymaker was compensated by Thomas Cook after falling ill at the Egypt hotel where a British couple were staying when they died.

Nick Hawkins, 51, from Witham, Essex, said he received £2,000 after contracting salmonella at Steigenberger Aqua Magic in Hurghada in June 2017.

John and Susan Cooper, from Burnley, Lancashire, died on 21 August.

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman said Mr Hawkins had been compensated after returning home.

She said: "The safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our first priority and we would never send customers to a hotel which we do not believe to be safe."

It was standard procedure for hotel checks to be carried out if a holidaymaker had become ill and was compensated, she added.

Mr Hawkins was a few days into the family holiday when he became "exceptionally ill".

"Luckily we were only staying for seven nights or I think I would have ended up in hospital in Egypt," he said.

"When I got back my doctor diagnosed salmonella."

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Image caption,
Egypt's attorney general will lead a forensic inquiry into hygiene standards at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel

Fourteen months later, at the same hotel, Mr Cooper, 69, died in his room, while Mrs Cooper, 63, a Thomas Cook employee, died in hospital.

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, described finding her parents ill in their room, hours after going to bed "fit and healthy".

The Red Sea Governorate said medical checks by a health inspector revealed "no criminal suspicions".

Mr Hawkins added: "It [the salmonella] must have come from the hotel because we had an all-in package deal and the only food I'd eaten was in the hotel."

The hotel seemed "pretty clean" and he was unaware of anyone else being ill or of any investigation, he added.

Thomas Cook moved 300 guests out of the hotel 24 hours after Mr and Mrs Cooper died, as a precaution.

Last week, it emerged the Egyptian government has ordered a thorough investigation into hygiene standards at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic.

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