Woman breaks spine after being hurled from speedboat seat during dolphin trip
A woman broke her spine after she was hurled from her speedboat seat during a dolphin watching trip.
Liga Raisa-Reisa, 33, was on holiday in Portugal celebrating her anniversary when she suffered a fractured vertebra and nerve damage after being flung into the air and slammed back into her seat.
Restaurant manager Liga said the boat was travelling towards waves at speed and she was repeatedly thrown up in the air.
She was airlifted to hospital and then transported by air ambulance back to the UK. As a result of her injuries she was forced to give up her job.
Now she is launching legal action against tour operator TUI, the company the couple booked their holiday with, after their dream vacation turned into a nightmare.
They thought the dolphin trip was going to be run by TUI as it was booked through the company reps and the booking form and receipt was on the firm’s headed paper.
But when Liga and her partner arrived at the marina on the day they discovered a local company would be taking them out on the water.
Liga said: “Around 40 minutes into the excursion we hadn’t seen any dolphins then suddenly the boat’s captain shouted and sped towards a part of the sea where he thought some may be.
“The boat was crashing into the waves and I was bumping up and down violently. I was scared I might fly out of my seat and a woman who was sitting near me was swearing.
“I was repeatedly thrown up and down in my seat, despite trying to hold onto the metal handle.
“However, it was wet and slippery because of sea spray. On one of the impacts, my back hit the edge of the seat.
“I felt and heard my back snap. I was in absolute agony and crying. I could hardly breathe and I couldn’t feel my legs.”
Liga and her partner travelled to the Algarve in Portugal on May, 6, 2018, to celebrate their first anniversary together.
The couple were given seats towards the front of the boat and told to hold onto a metal handle in front of their seat if the ride became bumpy.
Liga, of Croydon, south London, added: “The last couple of years have been terrible.
“I’ve been in so much pain which I still suffer from now.
“My injuries prevented me from being able to do my job because it’s physically demanding and you’re always on your feet.”
After the accident the boat travelled back to shore and Liga was airlifted to hospital where she had a CT scan and was told she had fractured her spine.
On the advice of doctors she travelled back to the UK by air ambulance on May 15.
More than two years on she still suffers from pain and Liga has got experts to investigate and launch a legal case.
Nick Cerezo, the lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Liga, said: “The serious injuries Liga suffered on-board the boat have had a profound effect on her life for more than two years.
“The first-hand account she has told about the excursion and the safety measures in place are extremely worrying.
“While nothing can ever make up for what has happened, we’re determined to ensure that Liga can access the specialist rehabilitation and support she requires.
“We call on TUI to resolve this issue so that Liga can concentrate on her ongoing recovery and try and put what happened behind her.
“It’s also vital that travel operators and excursion companies ensure that safety measures are upheld at all times to protect people.”
A spokesman for TUI UK said: “We’re sorry to hear of this customer’s experience. As this is a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers is our absolute highest priority.”
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