A Pontefract mum says she was lucky not to be paralysed after a horror water park accident on holiday.
Tracy Turner sustained crushed bones and fractures to her back and neck when a ride in a water park in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt went badly wrong.
Incredibly, the moment she was injured was caught on camera and doctors later told her she was just millimetres from ending up permanently disabled.
The mum-of-two now has to endure regular painful injections in her spine and takes a cocktail of painkillers to try to stem the pain.
She now wants to warn other holidaymakers about the dangers of water parks this summer fearing someone else could be seriously injured.
She said: “People need to realise these water parks are dangerous.
“I was lucky not to be in a wheelchair but the next person might not be. My life has changed forever and has been ruined from a simple water ride.
“I never knew they were that dangerous. I was a real outdoors person and had a great social life - now I can’t do anywhere near as much as I used to.
“I have also piled on the weight as I can’t go to the gym and am depressed.
“People going on holiday with them need to know the risks of using water rides and getting injured. The pain is constant and I have been told there is no end in sight. I am not the same outgoing person I was before that holiday. “
Tracy, and one of her twin sons, Joshua, 23, were looking forward to the family getaway with her sister and her niece to the four-star Coral Sea Aqua Club in Egypt.
She enjoyed the first few hours of her two-week holiday but on her second visit to the on site water park, tragedy struck.
Tracy decided to brave a ‘Flowrider’ body board attraction.
The 51-year-old said: “I got to the ride and there were no safety instructions. I just got told by the man to kneel on the body board which I did. I followed all his instructions but going on that ride was the worst mistake of my life.”
She went down the ride and fell off the board and got caught in the current which dragged her forward and flipping her backwards over onto the hidden wave machine.
She recalled: “The water pressure was unbelievable. It threw me around like a rag doll in a tumble dryer. I had no control. I was at the mercy of the water all the time. “
Tracy had to be helped off the ride by a lifeguard.
Her son helped her away from the ride but she didn’t know then how serious her injury was.
Tracy added: “I had a massive pain in my neck and back that I had never had before. It was so bad that I nearly fainted.”
Luckily her sister had hospital-grade painkillers with her for another unrelated condition that she let her take.
She added:” I know you are not supposed to take other people’s medication but the pain was indescribable.”
She spent the remainder of her holiday in pain counting down the days to flying home.
It was not until she got home that doctors told her she had fractures to her mid thoracic spine- a major section of the spinal column.
She added: I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The doctor said I was very, very lucky not to be paralysed.
“I had no idea things were that bad. I was still in severe pain but at least I wasn’t in a wheelchair.
“The pain is like a constant really bad tooth ache that never goes away.
“My doctor even told me it is likely that the injury could also cause arthritis in the future and I now have a new nagging pain at the bottom of my back.”
Since her accident in 2015 she is now taking legal action against travel operator TUI.
Allen Wilson - one of the world’s leading experts on water parks - said: “Wave pools and rides are notorious for people getting injured. I have heard of many cases of people who have been left with life changing injuries after a bit of holiday fun.
“Tour operators need to listen to expert advice when designing and maintaining these type of attractions.”
Travel Lawyer, Claire Rabbetts from Simpson Millar solicitors who is representing Tracy, said tour operators have a duty to check that hotel facilities such as water parks are safe to use.
She said: “This was a very nasty injury which could easily have resulted in Tracy being paralysed.
“She has had a very rough time since the accident. This incident demonstrates how dangerous certain water attractions can be without attentive lifeguards and health and safety measures.
Whilst water parks are fun attractions, if safety procedures are lacking they can become dangerous and cause devastating injuries.”
A TUI spokesperson said: “We’re aware of this matter, but as the case is proceeding to trial it would be inappropriate of us to comment further.”