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Family starts legal proceedings against holiday giant TUI after she fell ill during a five-star trip to Mexico
A family has taken legal action against vacation giant TUI after being stricken with severe vomiting and diarrhea during a luxury five-star vacation to Mexico.
Katie Richards, 33, and her husband Ashley, 34, traveled with their six-year-old daughter and other family members to the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa in Cancun in July.
The couple celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary, but the journey turned south when many of the family reportedly started falling seriously ill.
The family claims that the buffet food, including chicken, at the resort turned out to be undercooked and they even found a maggot in the salad.
They also reported seeing flies, cats, birds and raccoons around the food, some of which were not refrigerated and served with dirty cutlery.
The couple claim they were bedridden for three days and most of the family reported still experiencing symptoms after returning to the UK.
They have now ordered lawyers to investigate their case and have launched legal proceedings against tour operator TUI UK.
Katie Richards, 33, (left) and her husband Ashley, 34, (right) have taken legal action against vacation giant TUI after being struck by severe vomiting and diarrhea during a luxury five-star vacation to Mexico. They are pictured with their daughter Ruby (center)
The couple traveled with their six-year-old daughter and other family members to the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort and Spa in Cancun in July (pictured)
Katie, a nurse, and Ashley, a sales associate, arrived at the resort on July 20, but Katie began to feel unwell six days later and suffered from a serious stomach condition.
Within three days, Ashley, their daughter Ruby and cousin had also fallen ill, with Ashley bedridden for part of their ruined journey.
Vacationing with them were Katie’s parents, Alison Whitmore, 60, an elementary school administrative assistant, and Philip Whitmore, 61, a former chef.
Alison and Philip began to feel unwell on July 28 and the next day they both had diarrhea and complained of fatigue, sweating and abdominal pain.
The family reported still feeling ill after returning to the UK on August 3.
Katie and Ashley, from Derby, both lost weight as a result of the ordeal and went to see their GP, while Alison and Philip have also spoken with a doctor.
Philip even tested positive for Cyclospora – a pathogen that can be contracted by drinking unclean water or eating food that has not been properly cooked or washed.
The family claims that the buffet food, including chicken, at the resort turned out to be undercooked and they even found a maggot in the salad. They also reported seeing flies, cats, birds and raccoons around the food, some of which were not refrigerated and served with dirty cutlery. The family is on vacation in the photo
Katie said, “When we landed in Mexico, we were looking forward to two weeks of sun and relaxation.
“Ashley and I had honeymooned in the Riviera Maya area, and we had such a fantastic time that we agreed to take our daughter on vacation for our tenth anniversary.
“Unfortunately, our trip was not like that. Instead, most of us spent most of the second week feeling unwell.
“I remember some of the food, including chicken, was undercooked and served lukewarm.
“New food was added to the existing buffet and some items were completely dried out and inedible.
‘I also noticed that salad, yoghurt and cottage cheese were not kept refrigerated and that the cutlery and crockery were often dirty or stained.
“We also saw a lot of flies around the food, as well as cats, birds and raccoons hanging out.
‘One evening I even found a maggot in the salad. It’s really not the standard you expect from a five star hotel.
The couple claim they were bedridden for three days and most of the family reported still experiencing symptoms after returning to the UK
She added: ‘The worst part was that most of the family got sick and sad and there was nothing we could do about it.
“It’s been over a month since we got back and we’re still not 100 percent, which is a sign of how sick we were.
‘While nothing can be done to change what we’ve been through; we just want some answers about how this happened, in the hopes that it can help prevent it from happening to others.”
Philip, also from Derby, said: ‘I was shocked when the doctor told me I had Cyclospora and learned how it can be contracted.
‘I did not expect to visit a five-star hotel and contract such a disease.
“As a retired chef with 40 years of professional hospitality experience, I did notice some food hygiene issues over the holidays, but I never imagined most of my family would be so unwell.”
TUI said in a statement to Mail Online that it was “deeply sorry to hear about the Richards family’s experience at the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort and Spa in Mexico.” The travel agency also noted that ‘we regularly check all our hotels for health and safety, including hygiene’.
Nadhia Akthar, the specialist international attorney for serious injuries to Irwin Mitchell who represents the family, said: “Katie, Ashley and their family were really looking forward to their vacation in Mexico.
“It was a time for all the family to come together for a holiday abroad, after the restrictions imposed by Covid, while also celebrating a special occasion.
“Understandably, our clients have many questions about their illness and we are now investigating them.
“If problems are identified during our investigation, it is essential that lessons are learned to prevent other holidaymakers from getting sick in the future.”
TUI, making a statement to Mail Online on Sunday, said: “We are deeply sorry to hear about the Richards family’s experience at the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort and Spa in Mexico.
“As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time. We want to reassure customers that we regularly check all our hotels for health and safety, including hygiene.”