Tragedy at Aqualandia
Tragedy at Aqualandia
Update – 27th July. It has been confirmed by family members that David has now been transferred back to the UK
A British holidaymaker faces being paralysed for life after he broke his neck on a water slide in Spain.
Our thoughts and our prayers are with David and his family.
David Briffaut age 23 from Benfleet in Essex was on vacation with his girlfriend Penny age 22 and two of his friends in Javea, when he suffered the terrible accident that now has him connected to a life support machine in the ICU at Alicante hospital.
On Monday 8 July, a couple of days before they were due to fly home to Essex, they decided to travel down the coast to Benidorm to visit Aqualandia Waterpark.
Friends filmed him and Penny, preparing to launch onto the water slide by laying face down on a red mat at the top.
The pair speed down the slide side by side laughing as the family friend records the fun moment.
As David reaches the end of the ride the short video appears to show David’s head snap forward as he hits the water at the bottom. he was briefly knocked unconscious, when he came round he told his friends: “I can’t feel my legs.”
David’s neck suffered a pull, causing him to fall into the pool head first. This caused the rupture of two vertebrae in his neck and injuries to his spinal cord that could leave him paralyzed.
We have spoken to the British Consulate in Alicante and can confirm that they have been providing assistance to the family.
David’s mother, Lorraine, told the media: “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…..We live in a nightmare, our son went on vacation with his girlfriend and they told us he would never walk again, all we can do now is pray for him to recover . ”
“He is sedated but he is aware of what has happened to him, David is receiving fantastic attention at the hospital, but we want to take him home to England as soon as he can be transferred ,”
In the next few days David will undergo surgery to insert two screws in his neck and a tracheotomy so he can breathe without the use of a ventilator.
The Splash ride, features slides side by side and is rated as a moderate ride on Aqualandia’s website.
Below is a direct response requested by ourselves from the Press Manager of Aqualandia.
My name is María José Marcos, Press Manager of Aqualandia.
Thanks for reaching out to us. Yesterday, you talked to Mundomar not Aqualandia (as it was out of hours). For that reason she could not help you. But, I will give you all the information:
First of all, I would like to clarify that, for various reasons, Aqualandia is not responsible for the accident which occurred on July 8th:
The ride Splash is completely safe, as the rest of slides of the park. Each season, before opening the Park, an external company specialized in Water Parks makes an exhaustive review of all the slides. Beyond this, our staff check them every morning.
Moreover, We have video footage which plainly shows how the 23 year old man did not follow the guidelines for Splash. 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. As you can see in the photos of others press articles, David is in the wrong position whereas the girl who is next to him is in the right one. (attached rules display).
On the other hand, the ride was re opened after these facts because, I repeat, the ride is completely safe. David did not follow the rules for the slide. So, Aqualandia cannot be held for the consequences of visitors failing to follow safety rules. Of course, Aqualandia helped him and his friends in every way and our insurance covered all the medical attention.
Aqualandia has a long history – 34 years – and safety is out top priority. Our rules and recommendations are clearly displayed all the park and must be adhered to by our visitors.
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.
If you need any further information, please do get in touch.
María José Marcos Fuster
As reported in various British Newspapers
All other News Stories can be found HERE