David Briffaut, 23, has been on a life support machine at Alicante hospital since July 8th when he broke two vertebrae hitting the water after descending the Splash slide at the popular waterpark.
His head snapped back as he hit water in the pool at the bottom of the ride, lost conscious and when he came to, reportedly said “I can't feel my legs”.
Doctors have warned the family that Briffaut, who works as a green keeper at an Essex golf club and was on holiday with his girlfriend and a couple of friends, could be left paraplegic after the freak accident.
David Briffault was on holiday with his girlfriend Penny Bristow. Photo: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/davidbriffaut
Footage released by the family show Briffaut and a friend sliding down in adjacent chutes, but stops short before the moment he hit the water.
Authorities at the park insist that the ride is completely safe and the park cannot be held responsible, claiming that the accident was caused because Briffaut did not follow rules and regulations of the ride.
The slide therefore has remained open since the accident.
“First of all, I would like to clarify that, for various reasons, Aqualandia is not responsible for the accident which occurred on July 8th,” a spokesman from the park told The Local on Tuesday.
·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.
The spokesman said that Briffaut was at fault for not following the guidelines. “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…David is in the wrong position whereas the girl who is next to him is in the right one.
“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.
The spokesman added: “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. 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 alreadysaid, the park is not responsible for the accident.”
Regulations are posted at the top of the slide and for that particular ride which is described as “moderate”, there are instructions with photographs.
Instructions are on display at the top of the ride. Photo provided by Aqualandia
Each ride is manned by a lifeguard at the top of the chute and in the pool at the bottom.
“This is every family’s worse nightmare,” said Briffaut’s uncle, Mark Pooley. “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 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.”
Briffaut’s parents, who flew out to their son’s bedside, visited the park and were astounded to see that the slide was still open.
“Given what has happened we would have thought there would be some investigation so that it does not happen again,' Pooley told the Daily Mail.
'It just does not seem possible that a young man can go on holiday and come back paralysed for life.'
The family have launched a crowd funding page through justgiving.com to raise money for Briffaut’s medical care. It has already raised £40,000 of a £75,000 target.