THE bodies of the Brit couple who died during a holiday in Egypt are due to return to he UK.
John, 69, and Susan Cooper, 64, died on August 21 after being taken ill at the five-star Thomas Cook hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.
Only now have their bodies been released for repatriation, according to Egyptian authorities.
Egypt’s General Prosecutor released a statement ordering the release of the bodies of Susan and John Cooper to a UK Embassy representative in Cairo.
The statement says the results of the autopsy will be released at a later stage and that the investigation will continue.
It says they can now be repatriated and the British can conduct their own post-mortem.
The news comes as Thomas Cook confirmed high levels of E-coli were found in food at the Egypt hotel where a Brit couple died suddenly last month.
The travel giant revealed the results of independent tests conducted at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel that showed the presence of the food poison bug – as well as bacteria linked to sepsis and deadly toxic shock syndrome.
Experts analysing food and hygiene standards at the resort identified a high level of E-coli and staphylococcus bacteria.
But Thomas Cook insists the results do not shed “any light on the still unexplained cause of death” of British holidaymakers John and Susan Cooper.
The couple, from Burnley, Lancs, died within hours of each other at their Hurghada resort on 21 August.
Their deaths were initially recorded as being down to heart and respiratory failure — but a postmortem is due to be carried out.
John, 69 died in his room after collapsing on his bed, while wife Susan, 64, was rushed to hospital but later succumbed to the mystery illness.
Thomas Cook’s commissioned an independent hygiene specialist and air quality specialist to test the hotel amid fears they may have come to harm through the air conditioning food or water.
Reporting the results today, the company revealed:
- There was no evidence of carbon monoxide and normal levels of carbon dioxide around the Coopers’ hotel room
- Tests on the swimming pools showed normal levels of chlorine
- The tests did not identify the presence of shigella, listeria or salmonella
- But tests on the food and hygiene standards identified a high level of e-coli and staphylococcus bacteria — which can cause blood poisoning and toxic shock
They could not gain access to the couple’s hotel room as it remains sealed off by Egyptian authorities investigating the deaths.
The initial results were reviewed by Dr Vanya Gant from University College London Hospitals.
In a statement the firm said their specialists did not see a link between the E-coli discovery and the tragic deaths.
Thomas Cook said: “Neither our independent specialists nor Dr Vanya Gant believe that these results shed any light on the still unexplained cause of death of Mr and Mrs Cooper.
“We await the results of the autopsies being conducted by the Egyptian authorities.”
“The security and wellbeing of our valued guests around the world is of highest priority.”
Thomas Cook also committed to carry out “specialist hygiene assessments” at all their partnered hotels that report a higher-than-average number of customers with sickness.
The holiday operator also confirmed customers at the hotel will receive a “compensation package”.
A spokesman for Deutsche Hospitality, which runs the hotel, told The Sun Online: “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy in the Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada.
“We are expecting the results of the full investigation being conducted by the Egyptian authorities, who have our full support.
“We are constantly monitoring the quality by outside independent contractors.
“So any high level of bacteria would not be acceptable by our high standards.
“We have taken note of the interim results published by our partner Thomas Cook, which matches with our independent investigations concerning the good results of water and air quality.
“Our high standards in terms of hygiene are not negotiable and of course apply also to all of our franchise hotels as well.”
Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser added: “These results, while not establishing the cause of the tragic deaths of John and Susan Cooper, have prompted us to commit further resource to tackle hygiene standards in those hotels where we identify a higher than average level of sickness.”
The room where the couple died has since been sealed off and a “do not disturb” sign hangs from its handle — with guards stationed outside it around the clock.
Following the deaths, it emerged the hotel had been hit by dozens of sickness complaints.
On Friday guests had a note put under their doors advising them “water pipelines cleansing” would be taking place and advising them not to use taps in their rooms.
The Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel remains unavailable for new bookings for Thomas Cook customers until further notice.
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