Horror as tourist snaps neck on slide
A British holiday-maker faces being paralysed for life after he broke his neck on a water slide in Spain.
David Briffaut, 23, snapped two vertebrae in his neck in a freak accident after sliding headfirst down the "Splash" ride on a board into the water.
The golf course greenkeeper was in intensive care last night after he was pulled from the water semiconscious at the Aqualandia water park in Benidorm.
Medics have warned the talented golfer could lose the use of his legs or all feeling below his chest and will need an operation as soon as he is stable.
His parents Lorraine and Stephane were at his bedside after flying to Spain in order to prepare to jet him home by air ambulance.
"We are living in every parents' nightmare," Lorraine said.
"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. He is sedated but is aware what has happened to him.
"We are in the hands of the doctors and just have to wait and see. He is getting excellent care but would like to bring him home as soon as possible."
HEAD SNAPPED BACK
David has been in hospital since the accident on July 8 and remains sedated on a life support machine.
"All we can do is pray and hope that there is some recovery. We have been told David cannot feel anything from the chest down," Lorraine said.
"Sometimes these are injuries from which the body does recover and that is what we can hope for."
Friends filmed him and girlfriend Penny, 22, 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.
COULD NEED LIFELONG CARE
David lost consciousness briefly but came round and told pals: "I can't feel my legs."
David's uncle Mark Pooley said: "There has to be an investigation. David wasn't mucking around or anything like that.
"He was using the ride exactly as he should have been - so this is in no way his fault.
"The summer holidays is happening and tens of thousands of Brits are heading out there.
"All I can do is beg people not to use it - no one wants any more tragedies.
"David's sister Hannah went to go and see the ride and she was stunned that it was open at all.
"She just couldn't get her head around it.
FAMILY BEG HOLIDAY-MAKERS TO AVOID SLIDE
"David is a wonderful young man, who was enjoying an innocent day out with his girlfriend.
"He's a really great guy, he barely drinks because he loves driving his car and loves sport.
"He has such a young, vibrant life and it's been ripped apart by a tragic accident.
"We are praying for a miracle but have been told the injuries he has sustained are very traumatic."
MUM CAN'T EVEN WATCH VIDEO
David, who has travel insurance, was staying at a pal's parents' villa close to the water park.
His mother Lorraine, a teacher, has been unable to watch the video as it is too distressing.
The Briffaut family have set up a crowd-funding appeal to raise £75,000 ($A132,650) to help in the care and treatment of David when he returns home.
Childhood sweetheart Penny, 22, who has been dating David for six years, posted a link to the page, adding: "I love you so much, we will get through this."
The funding page says: "The catastrophic injuries mean that David will need lifelong care. His life has changed and so has the lives of those closest 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 unforeseen expenses covered."
The Splash ride - featuring six slides side-by-side - is rated as a moderate ride on Aqualandia's website.
An Aqualandia spokesperson said it was "simply false" to suggest the ride was unsafe.
The spokesman said: "Moreover, we have video footage which shows Mr Briffaut didn't follow the guidelines for Splash.
"Aqualandia has a long, 34-year history and safety is our top priority. Our rules and recommendations are clearly displayed at the park and must be adhered to by our visitors."
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission