Nurse fractured her back while on holiday after winning cancer battle

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A cancer patient who fractured her spine while on a boat trip in Mexico is calling for tour operators to ensure the safety of their excursions.

Carol Smith, 53, from Wakefield, booked a two-week trip to Cancun with her husband in July 2011 after finishing a course of radiotherapy.

The couple went on an excursion to swim with whale sharks through Thomson Holidays.

Mrs Smith was thrown into the air and crashed back onto the hard plastic seat as the boat went out to sea - despite pleas from passengers for the captain to return to shore as torrential rain and rough waves lashed the boat. Mrs Smith was then thrown into the air a second time.

The mum-of-two was left bed-bound for 12 days and had to wear a body brace for around eight weeks. She underwent physiotherapy but still suffers from pains in her back. She recently secured an undisclosed five-figure settlement from Thomson through Irwin Mitchell solicitors to cover her financial losses as she was off work for six months and to pay for future treatment.

Mrs Smith, a nurse, said tour operators must ensure the excursions they promote are safe for their customers.

She said: “I had only just finished a course of radiotherapy as I recovered from cancer and my husband and I were using the holiday as a celebration of my recovery but instead it was just an absolute nightmare.

“When I was thrown into the air the second time I just couldn’t move and I thought I’d been paralysed. I just hope that tour operators take note of my case and ensure that the excursions they offer are safe for other holidaymakers. I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer as I have.”