A woman whose parents passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning while on vacation in Egypt has expressed that her family is “shattered” without them.
On Friday, a coroner determined that John and Susan Cooper, who were 69 and 63 years old, passed away due to becoming sick in their hotel room after being exposed to a pesticide that was used in the neighboring room to eliminate bed bugs.
A pair from Burnley, Lancashire were on a delightful vacation at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in the Hurghada Red Sea resort when they tragically passed away, as reported in the inquest.
Kelly Ormerod had recently vacationed with her parents, who she noted were in good physical condition for their age, along with their three grandchildren and close family friends.
On the eighth day of their vacation, during lunchtime, the room next to the Coopers’ was treated with a pesticide called Lambda to get rid of a bed bug problem. The room had a locked adjoining door.
According to the inquest, the pesticide was mixed with a substance called dichloromethane, which produces carbon monoxide. The couple then sealed the room by taping around the door with masking tape and later that night, they returned to their neighboring room.
Molly, the 12-year-old daughter of Ormerod, was staying in her grandparents’ room on a single bed. However, she started feeling unwell and in the early morning, John Cooper brought her to her mother’s room.
The following day, Ormerod went to her parents’ room to check on them when they didn’t come down for breakfast. She discovered that her father, who worked as a builder, and her mother, who worked as a bureau de change cashier, were both very sick. Her father was pronounced dead in the room and her mother passed away hours later at the hospital.
The senior coroner for Lancashire, Dr James Adeley, presiding over the case at Preston coroner’s court, determined that the deaths on August 21, 2018 were a result of inhaling vapors from a pesticide containing dichloromethane in the adjacent room. This led to their deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.
He stated that the spraying had produced enough vapor to seep under the door and poison the couple.
Outside Preston coroners’ court on Friday, Ormerod shared, “Our family is still trying to understand the events of that day and we strongly believe it could have been avoided. The past few years have been incredibly difficult for all of us.”
“It has been distressing to go through everything again during the inquest, but it was necessary for the sake of our parents. Our family is incomplete without them.”
During the previous three-day inquest, Prof Robert Chilcott, an expert in toxicology, provided testimony. He stated that in underdeveloped countries, the pesticide Lambda is occasionally mixed with dichloromethane, which can lead to the body metabolizing or consuming carbon monoxide.
The Home Office pathologist, Dr. Charles Wilson, informed the hearing that the Coopers’ hotel room had not been properly secured. He stated that it would be unthinkable for such precautions not to be taken in the case of a double death in a UK hotel.
During the investigation, it was reported that there were multiple efforts made to acquire additional documents and information from the Egyptian authorities, with the Foreign Office making numerous requests.
Adeley reported that Susan Cooper’s illness and passing were swift, but criticized the medical care she received as “completely inadequate.” She was first taken to a hotel clinic before eventually being transported by ambulance, resulting in a four-hour delay before arriving at the hospital.