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Two Britons die from Legionnaires’ disease after staying at the same Bulgarian hotel | UK News

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Two British holidaymakers, who stayed at the same hotel in Bulgaria, have died from Legionnaires’ disease shortly after returning to the UK.

John Cowan, 43, and 75-year-old Brian Taylor both stayed at the Hotel Kalofer in Sunny Beach, a resort on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, after booking through tour operator Jet2 Holidays.

Their families have instructed specialist solicitors to investigate whether their illnesses were linked to the hotel.

Brian Taylor and his wife of 41 years, Nancy Sykes-Taylor, 84
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Mr Taylor pictured with his wife of 41 years, Nancy

Mr Taylor, whose wife Nancy has dementia and is looked after in a care home, was admitted to hospital with flu-like symptoms after arriving back in Huddersfield following a week’s break alone.

His death came several weeks after Mr Cowan, from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, died from Legionnaires’ disease in June.

Jatinder Paul, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing Mr Taylor’s family, said they were “understandably heartbroken” and are “struggling to come to terms with what happened”.

Mr Taylor’s stepson Martin Farrell said his stepfather was “very independent” and he was “fighting fit” before he went on holiday.

“He loved mum dearly and would go and visit her every day,” Mr Farrell said.

“There was nothing that would stop him from visiting.

“When he collapsed and was admitted to hospital, we couldn’t believe it. He had to be sedated and it was awful to see him like that in the intensive care unit.”

Mr Taylor’s stepdaughter Lorraine Williams, 54, added: “We cannot believe what has happened. One minute Brian was going on holiday and then the next he had passed.

Brian Taylor's step-daughter Lorraine Williams and step-son Martin Farrell. Pic: Irwin Mitchell
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Lorraine Williams and Martin Farrell say their stepfather was ‘fighting fit’ before his holiday. Pic: Irwin Mitchell

“Brian was a wonderful man who would do anything for his family. We are heartbroken at how he died and the fact that he never got to say goodbye to mum.

“Nothing can make up for Brian’s death, but we need to know what happened.”

The family of Mr Cowan, who are being represented by Digby Brown Solicitors, said they were “devastated” by his death.

His brother Barry Cowan said: “We just want answers – to know why this happened, to know it will never happen to anyone else – and to know why the tour operator and the hotel have done nothing to help.”

John Cowan, 43, died in June. Pic: Digby Brown Solicitors
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John Cowan, 43, died in June. Pic: Digby Brown Solicitors

Irwin Mitchell says another man has also instructed them after contracting Legionnaires’ disease, pneumonia and sepsis following a stay at Hotel Kalofer with his wife in June.

He was admitted to hospital after being diagnosed on his return to the UK and was placed in an induced coma in intensive care, the law firm said.

They added that he man has since been discharged, but it remains unclear how long his recovery will take.

In a statement, Jet2 Holidays said it offered its “heartfelt condolences” to the families of Mr Taylor and Mr Cowan and it had been in “constant contact to offer all the assistance and support that we can”.

“The health and safety of our customers is our absolute priority,” the firm said.

“In response, and to support our investigation, two independent specialists were instructed to take samples from the hotel and a UKAS-accredited laboratory conducted testing of the water samples for any contamination.

“The results of all their tests were negative. We will continue to assist the local authorities in their investigations as required.

“Despite these results we have taken further precautionary measures, like other UK tour operators at the hotel.

“We have transferred all customers and all bookings for this summer to other hotels, and we have also put a stop on sales to the affected hotel for Summer 2019 and Summer 2020.”

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