These are the fun filled seconds before a young British holidaymaker’s life is changed forever after a horrifying freak accident at Spanish waterpark left him paralysed.
Moments after splashing into a pool at the end of a slide 23-year-old David Briffaut was pulled semi-conscious from the water.
David is now on a life support machine in hospital with his family warned that he could be paralysed from the chest down after breaking two vertebrae in his neck and suffering a spinal cord injury.
His parents Lorraine and Stephane are by his bedside at a hospital in Alicante on the Costa Brava where he remains sedated in intensive care unit.
Promising golfer David Briffaut is seen whizzing down the Splash’ slide at Aqualandia water park in Benidorm on July 8 seconds before landing head first in the pool and snapping his neck
Moments after splashing into a pool at the end of the slide David, who works as a green keeper at a golf course near his home in Benfleet, Essex, was pulled semi-conscious from the water
David, who was on holiday with his girlfriend Penny Bristow (pictured) when the incident happened lost consciousness and was pulled from the water before being taken to hospital
Lorraine told MailOnline: ‘We are living in every parents’ nightmare. Our son went on holiday with his girlfriend and we have been told he might never walk again. All we can do now is pray that he can recover.
‘He is sedated but is aware what has happened to him. David is getting fantastic care at the hospital but we want to get him home to England as soon as he can be moved.’
David, a talented junior golfer, was on holiday in Benidorm with his girlfriend Penny Bristow when they visited the Aqualandia water park.
As friends filmed them from the bottom of a water slide called ‘Splash’ on July 8 David and Penny can be seen preparing to launch by laying face down on a red mat.
The pair speed down the slide side by side laughing as the family friend records the fun moment.
As David reaches the end of the ride the short video appears to show David’s head snap forward as he hits the water.
MailOnline has chosen not to show the moment of impact at the request of the family.
David, who works as a green keeper at a golf course near his home in Benfleet, Essex, lost consciousness briefly but came round and said: ‘I can’t feel my legs’.
He was rushed to hospital by ambulance where he remains in the intensive care unit.
In the chilling footage David and a friend could be seen laughing and joking as they prepare to plunge head first down the popular water slide on red mats before entering the water
David’s parents Lorraine and Stephane have flown to Spain from their Essex home and are by their son’s bedside at a hospital in Alicante where he remains sedated in intensive care unit
The Splash ride (pictured) – featuring six slides side by side – where the accident happened is rated as a moderate ride on Aqualandia’s website. It continued to stay open after the incident
The video was released with permission of the family who have called for an investigation into the safety of the slide at one of the world’s biggest waterparks.
David’s uncle Mark Pooley said: ‘David is a wonderful young man, who was enjoying an innocent day out with his girlfriend. We are praying for a miracle, but have been told the injuries he has sustained are very traumatic.’
Mark said David’s parents visited the waterpark after arriving in Spain to see where the accident took place and were stunned to see the Splash ride still open.
‘Given what has happened we would have thought there would be some investigation so that it does not happen again,’ said Mark.
‘It just does not seem possible that a young man can go on holiday and come back paralysed for life.’
His mother Lorraine, 55, a teacher, has been unable to watch the video as it is too distressing.
She is able to visit her son twice a day and has been told doctors plan to operate to insert two screws in his neck. He will also undergo a tracheotomy so that he can breathe without the use of a ventilator.
His girlfriend Penny is said to be ’emotionally all over the place’.
Lorraine said: ‘We are in the hands of the doctors and just have to wait and see. He is getting excellent care, but would like to bring him home as soon as possible.
‘All we can do is pray and hope that there is some recovery. We have been told David cannot feel anything from the chest down. Sometimes these are injuries from which the body does recover and that is what we can hope for.’
David (pictured with Penny) is on life support with his family warned he could be paralysed from the chest down after breaking two vertebrae in his neck and suffering a spinal cord injury.
David was in the last few days of his holiday with Penny (pictured with two friends) when his accident happened and his family have said that they want to fly him home as soon as they can
The Aqualandia water park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Benidorm and open all year round.
The rides at the park are rated in three different categories; infant, moderate, and radical. Children under six are encouraged to be accompanied by an adult on the infant and moderate rides.
Two rides fall into the faster, radical category – ‘Bang Bang’ and Verti-Go, which reaches speeds of 100km/h as they descend down a 100m slide in three seconds.
The Splash ride – featuring six slides side by side – is rated as a moderate ride on Aqualandia’s website.
The Briffaut family have set up a crowd funding
Appealing for funds, the page says: ‘Our thoughts and our prayers are with David and his family. The catastrophic injuries mean that David will need life-long care. His life has changed and so has the lives of those closet to him.
‘His parents home will need to be remodelled for disability access, specialised treatment and new treatments will need to be explored and of course many other unforseen expenses covered. In short we want to do everything within our capabilities to raise as much money as possible to enable David to get the best possible care and better his life in whatever way we can.’
A spokesman for Aqualandia told MailOnline that it is ‘simply false’ to suggest that the ride is unsafe.
They said that before opening the park each season, an external company makes an exhaustive review of all the slides. Beyond this, park staff check them every morning.
‘Moreover, we have video footage which shows Mr Briffaut didn’t follow the guidelines for Splash,’ the spokesman said.
‘Aqualandia has a long, 34-year history and safety is out top priority. Our rules and recommendations are clearly displayed all the park and must be adhered to by our visitors,’ they added.