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August 24, 2018 | Egypt

Thomas Cook removes Egypt hotel guests after UK couple dies

AFP
Thomas Cook said it was 'deeply saddened' by the deaths of a British couple at a hotel in Egypt.  By PAUL ELLIS (AFP/File)
Thomas Cook said it was 'deeply saddened' by the deaths of a British couple at a hotel in Egypt. By PAUL ELLIS (AFP/File)

British tour operator Thomas Cook said it is removing all its customers from a hotel in Egypt after a UK couple staying there died in unexplained circumstances and other guests fell ill.

The company said late Thursday it was unclear what caused the deaths of the Britons, reportedly in their 60s, who had been staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

Thomas Cook added in a statement that all of its other customers staying at the Steigenberger, reported to be 301 by the BBC, had the choice of relocating to another hotel in Hurghada or returning home.

It said it was "deeply saddened" by the deaths of the two guests.

"The circumstances of their deaths are still unclear," Thomas Cook said.

"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."

Red Sea governor Ahmad Abdallah told AFP that the couple, who were on holiday with their daughter, had died on Tuesday.

The BBC identified them as John Cooper, 69, and his wife Susan, 63, a Thomas Cook employee. The couple were from the town of Burnley, northwest England.

Abdallah said the man died in hospital after suffering exhaustion, followed by his wife who collapsed at the hotel on hearing the news.

The governor ruled out "criminal motive".

Thomas Cook said customers due to travel in the coming weeks to the hotel -- which the tour operator gave a 96-percent rating in an audit last month -- would be offered alternative holidays.

Egypt's key tourism industry has been recovering from a devastating blow in 2015 when jihadists bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 on board.

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