Horror accident at water park leaves Brit holidaymaker fearing paralysis for life – Wales Online
A horror accident at a water park has left a young British holidaymaker fearing he might be paralysed for life.
Twenty-three-year-old David Briffaut was on holiday in Benidorm with his girlfriend Penny when tragedy struck, reports the Mirror.
He lost consciousness after going down a waterslide at Aqualandia and was rushed to hospital and placed on a life-support machine.
Scans showed he has two broken vertebrae in his neck and David is expected to be left paraplegic.
David’s uncle Mark said: “This is every family’s worst nightmare. David is a wonderful young man, who was enjoying an innocent day out with his girlfriend.
“We are praying for a miracle, but we have been told that the injuries he has sustained are very traumatic.
“We cannot understand how this can have happened at family tourist destination.
“David was behaving in the normal way, and he had not been drinking. We believe there should be a full investigation.”
Huge water rides
David and Penny, who have been dating for six years, were holidaying in the Costa Blanca with another couple.
They booked the holiday to celebrate Penny’s recent graduation from a degree course in travel and tourism.
Several days before the group were due to fly home they decided to spend a morning at the Aqualandia.
The theme park, once the largest in Europe, features 15 huge water rides.
David was going down the ‘Splash’ slide when he was knocked unconscious after hitting the water at the bottom.
The greenkeeper, who works at a golf club near his home in Essex, was immediately taken to hospital.
His parents Lorraine and Stephane were at his bedside last night after flying out to Spain.
It is understood David will be taken home on a medical jet in the coming days.
The British consulate in Alicante has been providing assistance to the family.
Mark added: “The family would like to thank the Consulate for its magnificent support over the last few days.
“We are hoping that David’s travel insurance will pay for him to be flown home, but after that he faces a very uncertain future.
“He has undergone surgery and is partly conscious, but in a great deal of pain.
“We have been told he may need more surgery later this week.”
The Splash ride was still open for use when David’s family visited the park several days after the accident last Monday (July 8).
Earlier this year Aqualandia announced the opening of one of the world’s largest waterslides.
The ‘Cyclon’ measures 200m (656 feet) in length and features a 20m (65 feet) wide vortex tunnel.
Passengers hit speeds of up to 37mph (60kmph)on the ride.
David’s friends have opened a JustGiving page to help cover the costs of his injury, which will include adapting his parents home for disability access and treatment costs.
David’s teacher mum Lorraine, 55, said: “We are living in every parents’ nightmare.
“Our son went on holiday with his girlfriend and we have been told he might never walk again. All we can do now is pray that he can recover.
“We have been told David cannot feel anything from the chest down. Sometimes these are injuries from which the body does recover and that is what we can hope for.”
A spokeswoman for Aqualandia last night claimed the water park is not responsible for David’s accident.
María José Marcos added: “We have video footage which plainly shows how the 23 year old man did not follow the guidelines for the slide.
“Our lifeguard team informed him of the rules of the ride and he didn’t obey them. Even the family and friends confirmed this fact.
“Aqualandia cannot be held for the consequences of visitors failing to follow safety rules. Despite this, Aqualandia helped him and his friends in every way and our insurance covered all the medical attention.
“All the Aqualandia staff are very sad about happened that day but, as we have already said, the park is not responsible for the accident.”
David’s family have released mobile phone footage showing the moment he suffered his injury.
He and girlfriend Penny can be seen lying chest down on mats before launching down the slide.
As David hits the water at the end of the ride his head appears to snap forward.
Witnesses say he briefly lost consciousness before coming round and saying: “I can’t feel my legs”.