17 Jul, 2019 @ 07:59
1 min read

British holidaymaker, 23, could be ‘permanently paralysed’ after breaking neck on waterslide in Benidorm’s Aqualandia

A BRITISH holidaymaker’s life has changed forever after a horrific freak accident at Benidorm’s Aqualandia left him paralysed.

David Briffaut, 23, was pulled semi-conscious from the water after riding the ‘Splash’ waterslide with girlfriend Penny Bristow on July 8.

Video footage shot by friends shows the pair laughing side-by-side before David’s head snaps forward as he hit the water.

TRAGEDY: David broke two vertebrae in his neck

David, who works as a green keeper at a golf course near his home in Benfleet, Essex, came round after blacking out and said: “I can’t feel my legs.”

He is now on a life support machine in hospital with his family warned that he could be paralysed from the chest down after breaking two vertebrae in his neck and suffering a spinal cord injury.

Parents Lorraine and Stephane are by David’s bedside at an Alicante hospital where he remains sedated in intensive care unit.

Lorraine told MailOnline: “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.”

HORRIFIC: David was side-by-side by girlfriend Penny Bristow when the freak accident occurred

Lorraine is able to visit her son twice a day and has been told doctors plan to operate to insert two screws in his neck.

He will also undergo a tracheotomy so that he can breathe without the use of a ventilator.

The Aqualandia water park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Benidorm and open all year round. 

The rides at the park are rated in three different categories; infant, moderate, and radical. The Splash ride – featuring six slides side by side – is rated as a moderate ride on Aqualandia’s website. 

Appealing for funds, the page says: “The catastrophic injuries mean that David will need life-long care. His life has changed and so has the lives of those closet to him.

“His parents home will need to be remodelled for disability access, specialised treatment and new treatments will need to be explored, and of course many other unforseen expenses covered.”

‘NIGHTMARE’: The shocking incident was recorded by friends at the bottom of the slide

A spokesman for Aqualandia told MailOnline that it is ‘simply false’ to suggest that the ride is unsafe.

The spokesman said David ‘not follow the guidelines’ for the Splash ride, which remained open after the incident.

“Aqualandia has a long, 34-year history and safety is out top priority. Our rules and recommendations are clearly displayed all the park and must be adhered to by our visitors,” the spokesman added.

Please click here to make a donation to the family’s fundraiser.

Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

1 Comment

  1. It’s honestly starting to be annoying that every single time a british person gets injured they complain about non existent safety issues.
    Realistically, just stop playing with fire and you’ll get back home safe.

    Location : Malaga

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