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  1. ITV Report

Thomas Cook 'counting on' Egyptian officials to investigate death of British couple John and Susan Cooper

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

Thomas Cook's boss has told ITV News that the company is "counting on" Egyptian authorities to properly investigate the death of a British couple in the Red Sea.

Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said that independent inspectors from Swiss firm SGS are working with Egyptian officials to "get to the bottom" of how John and Susan Cooper died.

The cause of their deaths is still unknown but specialists are testing food, water and air conditioning at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the resort of Hurghada. The results of those tests are expected in around 10 days.

Authorities in Egypt have claimed the couple, from Burnley, died of natural causes.

Kelly Ormerod, the couple's daughter, said there was "something suspicious" about their deaths, and on Sunday claimed that "something" in the couple's room "killed them".

"When they went back to that room that evening, there was something in that room that's actually killed them," Ms Ormerod said.

"Whether they've inhaled something that's poisoned them, I don't know, I can only have my opinion on what's gone on, but there's something that happened in that room that killed my parents."

Asked if he could trust the work of Egyptian officials, Mr Fankhauser said: "I count on the Egyptian authorities that they are doing everything together with us, together with our specialists, to really come to a conclusion of what caused the deaths."

Mr Fankhauser said the company had learned "hard lessons" from how it responded to the deaths of two children in Corfu in 2006. In 2015 an inquest jury concluded Thomas Cook had breached its duty of care over the deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, aged six and seven, who were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty boiler.

Mr Cooper, 69, died in his room while Mrs Cooper, 63, a Thomas Cook employee, died after being taken to hospital, according to Mrs Ormerod.

Thomas Cook had independent inspectors at the hotel 24 hours later, which Mr Fankhauser said was an " extremely swift reaction". Mr Fankhauser said Thomas Cook subsequently decided to move 300 guests out of the hotel as a precaution after becoming aware of an "increased number" of illnesses.

He said Thomas Cook will wait for the cause of death to be confirmed before deciding whether to resume sending customers to the hotel.

Mr Fankhauser said the company constantly monitors conditions at hotels where it sends customers to make sure they are safe.

"We have taken hard lessons on our health and safety systems and we are a totally different company to three years ago," he said.

"We are really doing everything we can to make a safe environment for our customers."

The Coopers' daughter said they were "fit and healthy" before their holiday and in "perfect health" just hours before being taken ill.

A technical team's inspection of the Coopers' room showed there were no toxic or harmful gas emissions or leaks, according to a statement by prosecutor Nabil Sadeq on Saturday.

It also said his office was waiting for a forensic analysis of samples taken from the bodies.