The tragic deaths of John & Susan Cooper, at the Steigenberger franchised Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt, has seen a flurry of activity amongst officials in Egypt and in the travel company, Thomas Cook.
There are also indications of previous concerns from holidaymakers, with one family reported to have received compensation for health and hygiene issues.
Frank Brehany, in an earlier press release, suggested that there was a confusion in the message being offered to the wider world, about events at the hotel and he offered 5 key questions and actions which would in his opinion, offer confidence to intending holidaymakers and the tourism industry in Egypt.
The continued messages from Egypt, whilst seeking to reassure, do not offer any indication or detail as to what had happened to the Cooper’s.
In light of this, Frank Brehany has devised 15 Key Questions & Actions:
- The original investigation was alleged to have been carried out by a ‘health inspector’ - what health and criminal qualifications and experience does that individual hold?
- The initial inspection was said by the Read Sea Governorate to reveal ‘no criminal suspicions’ - what were the key criminal aspects considered or determined?
- Should there not now be a comprehensive declaration as to whether any hot water in rooms at the hotel are powered by individual gas water heaters?
- If there are gas water heaters in the rooms, can the full service and testing history of any gas water heater be published?
- Alternatively, if hot water is supplied to rooms by one heater, is this supply offered through a central conduit to each room?
- If hot water from a boiler is supplied by a conduit to each room, can the full service and testing history for that boiler and examination of the conduit be published?
- It is assumed that air conditioning was supplied to each room. It is further assumed that an air conditioning unit for each section of the hotel will generally be located at some central point to each building. How is each air conditioning unit powered; by electricity or diesel?
- Can the full service and testing history of the air conditioning unit(s), their conduits to each room and in particular the Cooper’s room be published?
- In a statement by the country’s Attorney General, he advised that his ‘technical team’ had carried out an investigation - what are the specialisms and qualifications of his technical team and what did they specifically examine?
- In the same statement, the Attorney General allegedly stated that his team had ruled out any suggestion of a toxic or harmful gas leak - what was the basis and detail of those conclusions - can their findings be published?
- The local Governor Ahmed Abdullah apparently revealed via the Red Sea’s Region Facebook Page that “there was a strange odour in the room” (note: Carbon Monoxide is odourless) - what has been determined to be the source of this odour?
- The local Governor has cited ‘specialist engineer’s’ as having examined the ventilation and air conditioning systems - what are the specialisms and qualifications of these engineer’s and what did they find - can their report be published?
- On the issue of general health and safety, the local Governor also apparently revealed that a ‘large number’ of guests had suffered with ‘severe fatigue’ - has the source of this fatigue been identified?
- Can any examination of the hotel’s food, hygiene practices, swimming pool quality, since the Cooper’s deaths be published?
- Can the July 2018 audit by Thomas Cook be fully published?
Frank Brehany, an Independent Consumer Commentator and Travel Expert states:
“I have met with Peter Fankhauser previously and I am pleased to see that he has taken charge of the travel company’s response; I would hope that he does indeed determine the cause of this couple’s death”
"In the meantime, the apparent reluctance to allow the Tour Operator to access the Cooper’s room, to carry out their own tests, only continues to add to suspicion and conjecture. The Egyptian Authorities must recognise the importance of these issues and I would respectfully suggest that they pay heed to the 15 questions and action points I have devised; these will help to restore confidence that Egypt is a safe place to travel to”
“I particularly want to draw the attention of the Egyptian Authorities and the UK Foreign Office and Diplomatic Service to the Egyptian Constitution. Article 59 is quite specific, it states:
‘Everyone has the right to a safe life. The State shall provide security and reassurance for its citizens and all those residing in its territory’.
Those residing within Egyptian territory must surely also mean those who are taking a holiday in that territory, albeit on a temporary basis? I would encourage the Egyptian Authorities to follow the premise of Article 59 and ensure that the 15 questions I have posed are answered openly, fully and comprehensively. I would also ask that the Egyptian Authorities ensure that priority is given to all future holidaymakers on the question of health and safety and that they will enjoy the premise of a 'safe life' under the Constitution. I would also hope that the UK Foreign Office will also actively promote the goal contained in Article 59 and help to establish the reason why the Cooper’s died whilst on holiday”.