27 Jul, 2019 @ 13:59
1 min read

Brit suffered neck injury on Aqualandia’s Splash just a MONTH before David Briffaut, 23, was left paralysed

A BRITISH tourist has told the Olive Press how he suffered a neck injury just one month before David Briffaut was left paralysed on Aqualandia’s Splash ride.

Ryan Ball, 37, cut his neck after entering the pool at the bottom of the Benidorm park’s slide on June 2.

He said the lifeguards ‘did not correct his position’ before riding the Splash, for which visitors use a specially designed mat.

‘DANGEROUS’: Ball said the lifeguard did not correct his riding position

“It’s a really dangerous slide,” Ball, from Nottinghamshire, told the Olive Press.

“You go so fast you forget how to ride, unless someone tells you.

“When I hit the water my body flew forwards.

“I suffered minor whiplash, but I was one of the lucky ones.”

He said there was a sign at the top of the stairs to the Splash informing of the correct riding position, but that the lifeguard ‘didn’t seem to care’.

It comes as David Briffaut, 23, broke two vertebrae in a freak accident as he slid head-first down the ride on July 8.

‘INCORRECT’: Aqualandia said David was also in the wrong riding position
‘CORRECT’: The sign at the top of the Splash

Footage shown to the Daily Mail appeared to show David’s head snap forward as he hit the water, due to his elevated position on the mat.

He reportedly lost consciousness before coming round and saying ‘I can’t feel my legs’.

He was rushed to an Alicante hospital and put on life support in intensive care after it was discovered he had damaged his spinal cord.

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

David’s uncle Mark Pooley told the Olive Press: “Our priority at the moment is focusing on David, but we have always said that there needs to be a full investigation into the accident.”

FRIEND OR FOE: Aqualandia said their lifeguards were ‘impeccable’

A fundraiser set up for David’s recovery hit its £75,000 target this week. He was expected to be flown home via air ambulance yesterday.

A spokesperson for Aqualandia said the waterpark was ‘not responsible’ for the tragic incident as David ‘had not followed the lifeguard’s rules’.

“It’s an injustice that the information against us is biased towards our visitors, and they refer to us as executioners when we are not to blame,” the spokesperson said.

QUALITY CONTROL: Aqualandia said their slides a re rigorously checked for safety each year

“Aqualandia has worked hard for its good reputation for 34 years. We are confident in the truth and we can rely on the trust of our clients.

“Needless to say, our lifeguards operate to an impeccable standard in accordance with the quality of services at our park.”

The spokesperson said there was ‘no record’ of Ryan Ball’s incident.

Ball however maintained he was treated at the park’s medical centre and asked to ‘sign a form’.

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

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