The granddaughter of the British couple who died on holiday in Egypt nearly stayed in the same room as them – but left due to the smell, it is claimed.
The girl had reportedly intended to spend the night with her grandparents Susan and John Cooper at a five-star hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada.
However, instead of staying with the couple, from Burnley, Lancashire, she is said to have returned to her mum Kelly Ormerod’s room because of the odour.
Kelly – Susan and John’s daughter – said there was a mysterious rancid smell in her parents’ room, with an official later confirming a ‘strange’ odour.
And yesterday, it was claimed that the room next door to the couple’s had been fumigated only hours before they both mysteriously died last month.
Susan and John had been on a ‘trip of a lifetime’ with their daughter and three grandchildren and were staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel.
But their holiday turned to tragedy when they died suddenly within hours of each other, sparking the evacuation of hundreds of Thomas Cook holidaymakers.
At the weekend, The Mail on Sunday reported that pest controllers sprayed chemicals into the room next to where the popular couple were staying.
The fumigation occurred on August 20, according to the newspaper, with sources close to the investigation claiming the rooms shared a false ceiling.
It was just hours later, on August 21, that John, 69, died at the hotel.
Susan, 63, passed away at a nearby hospital the same day.
There are now fears they may have been poisoned by toxic fumes.
A source told the MoS: "There was a fumigation of the room next door.
"Some of these places use pretty heavy-duty stuff and chemicals which are allowed in Egypt are banned in Europe."
Kelly, 40, confirmed the fumigation had taken place.
But she added: "We don’t know its significance because by now there are unlikely to be any remaining traces of substances that might have been there."
According to other tourists, the next-door room that was fumigated was sealed off with "thick industrial tape" after the Coopers’ deaths.
Thomas Cook told Mirror Online that it "remains committed to do everything we can to get to the bottom of what happened to Mr and Mrs Cooper".
A spokesperson added that the circumstances of the deaths are still unclear.
Susan and John’s bodies are expected to be brought home this week.
Last Thursday, Egypt’s tourism minister said authorities would test food and hygiene at the hotel where the couple stayed before dying. She added that a forensic team would complete their post-mortem in the coming days.
Local officials initially said both Susan and John died from heart failure, but Egypt’s public prosecutor said the cause of death was not immediately clear.
"Autopsies on the two bodies are currently being conducted by a team of forensic pathologists," Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat said in an earlier statement. "I anticipate this will be concluded during next week."
A team led by Egypt’s public prosecutor was examining the hygiene at the hotel, testing food, water and air conditioning systems, Ms Mashat added.
The hotel last week said there had not been a rise in cases of illness.
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Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser travelled to Cairo to meet Ms Mashat and Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly last Wednesday "to get to the bottom of what went wrong", according to a statement from the company.
Mr Madbouly and Ms Mashat later said they gave Mr Fankhauser their "absolute assurances that the Egyptian authorities will leave no stone unturned in determining the actual cause of death".
Egypt relies heavily on tourism revenues, which have increased this year after the industry was hit hard by the turmoil that followed a 2011 popular uprising.
Tourism revenue jumped 77 percent in the first half of 2018 to around $4.8 billion compared with the same period last year, an official told Reuters.
Earlier, Susan and John’s daughter described the ‘smell’ in her parents’ room.
Kelly claimed another family member had felt “sick” upon entering it on the day of the tragedy – and that they used perfume to try to cover it up.
And speaking to reporters, the Governor of the Red Sea region, Major General Ahmed Abdullah, said "there was a strange odour in the room".
He added that it had been sealed off and that a team of specialists were inspecting all the ventilation and air conditioning in the room.
Brave Kelly, who returned to her Burnley home last week, also recalled the moment she discovered her dad in an "extremely ill" state.
She said: “At 11 o’clock I went and knocked on the door to see whether they were having a little bit of a lie-in and didn’t want to be bothered, and as I opened the door I could see that my dad was extremely ill.
“He was staggering back to the bed. Mum was on the bed, and I could see that something was seriously wrong with them."
She added: "Whether they have inhaled something that has poisoned them, I don’t know. I can only have my opinion of what goes on."
Mr Fankhauser earlier said: "We have no real evidence what caused the deaths, but what I can promise is at Thomas Cook we are doing everything to support the family and to support the Egyptian authorities… to get to the bottom of it and to get to the cause.
"There is no evidence that it is a carbon monoxide poisoning. We have no evidence but I don’t want to rule out anything before I really know the cause."
He continued: "24 hours after the couple died, we had our specialists… in the hotel. They took probes of the food, of the hygienic systems, of water, as well as the air conditioning systems, and all those probes are now in Egypt.
"They are now examining and testing the probes and we support them in doing that, but that takes about 10 days."
Egyptian prosecutor Nabil Sadeq has said a technical inspection of the room found no trace of toxic or harmful gas emissions or leaks.
According to Sven Hirschler, senior director of corporate communications for Deutsche Hospitality, which owns the Steigenberger brand, there was not an unusual level of illness among the 1,600 guests staying at the hotel.
Mr Hirschler said that John had complained of low blood pressure and was treated by the hotel’s on-site doctor on the day he died.
A Thomas Cook spokesperson told Mirror Online: "Thomas Cook remains committed to do everything we can to get to the bottom of what happened to Mr and Mrs Cooper.
"The circumstances of their deaths remain unclear and it would be inappropriate to comment further until the Egyptian authorities complete their investigation and the autopsy findings are known."
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