Croydon Woman Suffered Spinal Fracture During Dolphin Watching Trip

Restaurant Manager Reveals Battle To Overcome Serious Injuries

A woman who suffered a fractured spine when she was thrown from her seat on a speedboat during a holiday excursion has spoken of her battle to overcome her injuries.

Liga Raisa-Reisa, from Croydon, suffered a fractured vertebra and nerve damage when she was flung into the air and fell back into her seat, during a dolphin watching trip while on a five-star holiday in Portugal with her partner.

The 33-year-old was airlifted to hospital and then transported by air ambulance back to the UK.

Liga, who said the boat was travelling towards waves at speed, was forced to give up her job as a restaurant manager for a well-known chain because of her injuries. More than two years on she still suffers from ongoing pain.

Liga has instructed specialist international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate. The legal experts have now launched a legal case against tour operator TUI, through which Liga and her partner booked their five-star holiday.

The couple believed that the trip was going to be run by TUI as they booked it through the company reps and the booking form and receipt was on TUI headed paper. However, when Liga and her partner arrived at the marina on the day they discovered that a local firm would be taking them on the trip.

Expert Opinion

“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.”

Nick Cerezo – Solicitor

Liga and her partner travelled to the Algarve on 6 May, 2018, to celebrate their first anniversary together. Two days into the holiday they booked a number of excursions, including dolphin watching, through a TUI holiday rep.

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The couple went on the trip on 10 May. It was only when they arrived at the marina that they found out a local company would be taking them on the trip.

They 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.

Recalling the incident 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 sat 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.”

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.

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On the advice of doctors she travelled back to the UK by air ambulance on 15 May.

Liga 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 been able to do my job because it’s physically demanding and you’re always on your feet.”

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in handling international serious injury cases

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