A young British holidaymaker could face being left paralysed for life after an accident at a Spanish waterpark.

David Briffaut, 23, lost consciousness and suffered serious injuries after hitting the water in a pool at the bottom of a slide at the Aqualandia tourist attraction in Benidorm.


The Benfleet man was last night on a life support machine in a Spanish hospital and his family fear he will be left paraplegic after scans showed he has two broken vertebrae in his neck.

His parents, teacher Lorraine and construction worker Stephane, have flown out to bring Mr Briffaut home. 

A spokesman for the park said the slide was "completely safe" and that it accepted no responsibility for the accident.

Mr Briffaut's uncle, Mark, said: "This is every family's worse 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 happened at a family tourist destination. David was behaving in the normal way, and he had not been drinking.

"We believe there should be a full investigation into the circumstances of what happened."

Mr Briffaut was on holiday with his girlfriend of six years, Penny Bristow, at the time of the accident on the "Splash" slide.

They had been staying with friends and were on holiday to celebrate Ms Bristow completing a degree course in travel and tourism.

Mr Briffaut's family have set up a crowdfunding page to raise £75,000 to help pay for his care when he returns home, which has so far raised more than £26,000.

Mr Briffaut's uncle 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."

Aqualandia spokesman Maria Jose Marcos said: "First of all, I would like to clarify that, for various reasons, Aqualandia is not responsible for the accident which occurred on July 8.

"The ride Splash is completely safe, as are the rest of slides of the park. Each season, before opening the park, an external company specialised 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.

"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 our top priority. Our rules and recommendations are clearly displayed all the park and must be adhered to by our visitors. We work hard to maintain our good reputation and we will take appropriate judicial action should that become necessary.

"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."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Our consular staff are assisting the family of a British man hospitalised in Alicante, including by providing details of local lawyers, visiting the family at the hospital and liaising with the local authorities."

To contribute to a fundraiser to pay for David's ongoing recovery, click here. 

Last night, people had pledged more than £40,000.