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Holidaymakers offered £2k by Thomas Cook for dead body in water supply

Holiday giant Thomas Cook has offered a couple £500 compensation and the cost of their £1,500-holiday back after a decomposing body was found in the water tank servicing their Los Angeles hotel room.

The decomposing body of missing Canadian student Elisa Lam was discovered in the water tank of the Cecil Hotel and holidaymakers Michael and Sabina Baugh, both aged 27, from Devon discovered they had been drinking and showering in the water from the tank during the first week of their stay at the hotel in February.

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The couple said that because the area they were staying in has a high crime rate, they drank water from the hotel tap rather than going out to buy bottled water at night.

The decomposing body of British Columbia university student Elisa Lam was discovered by workers investigating low water pressure from one of the four water tanks on the roof of the Cecil Hotel. Ms Lam had been making her way to Santa Cruz in northern California when she disappeared.

Firefighters retrieved the body and water tests found no harmful bacteria had contaminated the water.

However, the couple say that they felt mentally “unwell” after being given the news about Ms Lam.

Mrs Baugh said:

“We are feeling fine, it’s just quite a traumatic experience – I couldn’t sleep for a few nights. Since we came back we have been working, so we have not had time to make an appointment to go and see the doctor.”

Her husband said they were still deciding whether to accept Thomas Cook’s offer of £2,000 – which includes the £1,500 they paid for their two-week Los Angeles holiday.

“We really don’t know what to do, we will probably think about it for a few days and decided what to do from there,” said Mr Baugh. “We aren’t really sure whether to accept it, but at the same time we don’t want to be unreasonable and greedy.”

Thomas Cook said that while the company could “imagine” how Mr and Mrs Baugh felt, events at the Cecil Hotel could not have been predicted – despite the hotel having been home to two infamous serial killers in the past.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said:

“We know how important holidays are to our customers and we take any issues affecting our guests very seriously.

“We can only imagine how upsetting and stressful the events in Los Angeles must have been for Mr and Mrs Baugh – and while they can’t be predicted, we’re discussing how we can make amends for what happened on their holiday.”


Dated: 15/03/2013

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