Tragic death on holiday
The family of a 68-year-old County Durham holidaymaker, who died while staying at the Grand Sarba 1 Hotel in Turkey, are pursuing claims for compensation.
Lloyd Nixon of Consett, County Durham, who travelled with his wife, Winnie Nixon died of a heart attack on the 26 September 2004.
Investigations continue into the cause of Mr Nixon's death. Mrs Nixon, aged 62, said: "This is a horrific experience as the death of my husband has affected me in a huge way.
"People who go on holiday should not have to fear worrying about these type of things. My husband's death was caused because the hotel was not kept up to the standards that are put in place."
Several more North East holidaymakers have come forward after recent reports in relation to contracting a confirmed illness at the same hotel.
Others who stayed at the Grand Sarba 1 during September and October 2004 have been diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease and spent several days in hospital as a result of the deadly infection.
Mr Ronnie Culyer, aged 45, from North Shields stayed at the hotel during October 2004, suffered with high temperature, loss of appetite, shivering, bad headaches as well as very bad stomach pains. He was admitted to hospital upon his return back home and spent 9 days receiving medical attention.
Mr Culyer said: "The shower water at the hotel was brown in colour and required a good run through before it was clear. It did not look very nice and definitely not hygienic."
Another episode of Legionnaires Disease at the same hotel was reported by South Shields holidaymaker Alan Corner, 52, who also stayed at the hotel during September 2004.
He suffered from a very high temperature, dizziness, light-headedness, unsteady balance and diarrhoea. Mr Corner was admitted to hospital upon his return home, where he was also diagnosed as having contracted Legionnaires.
Mr Corner said: "I suffer very frequently with memory loss and am finding it very difficult to adapt to normal life due to the after effects of the disease."
Suki Chhokar of the International Travel Litigation Group at Newcastle personal injury law firm Irwin Mitchell (IM), said: "Legionnaires Disease cases arising out of holidays abroad have increased recently. This disease is very serious and in some instances can be fatal."
"Many holidaymakers suffer long-term effects from the disease, caused as a result of the failure of hotels and tour operators in compliance with health and hygiene standards."
"There have been several reports of Legionnaires' disease at this hotel recently and it is clear that the hotel owners and tour operators failed to undertake steps to prevent further spread of this deadly infection."
To avoid your holiday becoming a nightmare, Irwin Mitchell offers some practical advice.
Only book your travel arrangements with agents who are ABTA members. If your travel includes flight arrangements, ensure that these are ATOL protected.
Take out adequate travel insurance.
Holiday brochures are not gospel. Ask questions relating to any current building work, outbreaks of illness or previous complaints. Also, ensure that you are familiar with any relevant climate and destination information.
Attend welcome meetings and take note of information given out by holiday company reps. Note the times they will be visiting your accommodation.
Pay attention to the food preparation, hygiene and sanitation standards at your accommodation. Try to implement good hygiene practice at all times.
If you suffer illness, seek appropriate medical attention both abroad and upon your return. Make sure you are tested for the presence of infection.
Make the holiday rep aware of any complaint immediately. Record all aspects of your complaint on a written customer complaint form...and keep a copy.
Speak to other unhappy holidaymakers and exchange information and contact details. Take photographic and video evidence of the matters you are complaining about.
Do not accept compensation payments on the spot and without the benefit of legal advice. Do not sign any document, which waives your right to pursue the complaint further.
On return home, make a detailed complaint in writing to the tour operator within 28 days. If you are unhappy with the tour operator's response, consult a solicitor who specialises in travel claims.
Suki Chhokar of Irwin Mitchell can be contacted on 0370 1500 100.
If you have suffered an illness or been injured while abroad, you may be able to claim holiday compensation.