Plymouth couple speak of horror at dead body in hotel water tank
A COUPLE have spoken of their horror after they drank water from a tank containing a dead body.
Michael and Sabina Baugh, from Efford, were on holiday at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles when the body of a missing Canadian woman was found in a water tank on the hotel roof. The pair, both 27, had been drinking and washing in the water – which was yesterday undergoing tests for contamination – for the first week of their stay.
Speaking to The Herald from LA, Mr Baugh said: "The water pressure was low ever since we got there and it tasted bad.
"We didn't think anything of it, but we found out eight days into the holiday that they had found a body in the water tank on the roof that had been there for about three weeks."
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The body, which was found on Tuesday, was identified as 21-year-old Canadian student Elisa Lam, from Vancouver. She had been travelling alone and was last seen on January 31 inside the hotel elevator.
CCTV footage shows her appearing to hide from someone, cowering in a corner and ducking in and out of the lift while pressing all the buttons.
"We were obviously shocked when they found the body," Mr Baugh said. "But the big shock was to find out we had been showering, brushing our teeth and drinking the water, and it was also used for the cooking in the hotel restaurant.
"That's the real shock because we know where that water has come from."
The hotel was immediately shut down and police are investigating the circumstances of Ms Lam's death.
Mr Baugh, who works as a session guitarist and composer in Plymouth, said the grim discovery sparked panic among the other guests at the hotel.
"They were all foreign and couldn't speak English," he said. "They didn't know what was happening.
"There were about four or five fire engines outside, a whole bank of police cars and they shut down the entire street."
Mrs Baugh added: "It made me feel really sick, knowing that we've been drinking this water for eight days."
The couple, who live in Erme Gardens, have now been upgraded to another hotel – which Mr Baugh describes as "very expensive" – and are hoping to put the experience behind them and enjoy the final week of their holiday.
Terrance Powell, a director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, told Associated Press the hotel water was undergoing tests.
He said: "Our biggest concern is going to be faecal contamination because of the body in the water."
Ms Lam's body was found by a maintenance worker after guests complained about low water pressure. Firefighters had to cut open the tank, 10ft above the roof of the 600-room hotel, to recover the body.