Sheffield couple’s holiday nightmare
Mark and Maria Wilks are among 70 British holidaymakers hoping to sue after becoming ill at the four-star Tropicana Sea Beach in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt.
The couple, from Intake, say they spent 12 months saving up for the £1,700 break in June.
But days after arriving with their 11-year-old son Benjamin, they were struck down with a mystery illness - which had symptoms similar to the norovirus - that swept through the hotel.
The family suffered diarrhoea, sickness and stomach cramps which left them confined to their room in sweltering heat.
The say they were served undercooked or reheated food and witnessed human waste floating in the swimming pool.
At one point, a member of staff took the bottled water they had been sold at the hotel from them and said the factory which produced it had been shut down for failing to meet health and safety standards.
Other Brits staying at the hotel became so poorly they had to be hooked up to drips after visiting the on-site doctor.
Mr Wilks, 38, said: “We got there and everyone started getting ill. We’ve been to Egypt before and sometimes you get stomach problems that clear up in a couple of days but this was something completely different. Everyone around you was getting this sickness. You could hear it in the hotel.
“All three of us were just getting more and more ill by the day. I was projectile vomiting, Benjamin was sick.
“We were all really ill for about four days but the effects lasted long after that. You come back from it but you’re still not 100 per cent. We lost a third of our holiday after putting by money all year to pay for it.”
The concerns over hygiene meant that Mr Wilks, his wife and son were forced to eat out most nights, rather than eat at the hotel - despite having paid for an all-inclusive break.
He said: “A lot of the meat was pre-cooked. There were birds carrying germs running all over near where food was served.”
Mr and Mrs Wilks are among 70 holidaymakers from around the country who visited the Tropicana Sea Beach this summer who have instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate their claims.
The group hopes to launch legal action and gain compensation.
Amandeep Dhillon, a travel law solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The number of complaints we have received from guests at this hotel in such a short space of time is very worrying. What should have been a relaxing holiday for our clients ended up being a disaster as they suffered severe illness.
“All too often, we see that clients who contract gastric illness abroad go onto suffer long term and sometimes permanent health problems.
“These are serious issues and we will now be looking for First Choice to work with us to resolve these complaints quickly and fairly for our clients.”
A spokesman for First Choice holidays, through which Mr and Mrs Wilks booked their holiday, said: “We are sorry to hear that Mr and Mrs Wilks did not enjoy their holiday experience at the Tropicana Sea Beach hotel in Sharm El Sheikh. As the matter in question is currently subject to a legal process, it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time.
“First Choice would like to reassure customers that Tropicana Sea Beach remains a popular choice for our customers.”