A TRAVEL company has been criticised after a man broke his spine on a luxury holiday.

Shane Carter and Lacie Catchpole, both 27, were on a Thomson holiday to Cape Verde when Mr Carter was hit by a wave and suffered life threatening injuries.

The pair, from Wethersfield, were staying on the idyllic islands, until Mr Carter was left with a broken collar bone, fractured lower spine and trauma and damage to the lungs.

Mr Carter, a self-employed floor layer, said: “We were probably walking in about 2ft of water and a massive wave slammed me down into the beach. It was immediate, I could not move my legs or anything.

“We were right in front of where the lifeguards should have been but there was no one there.

“If Lacie had not been able to get me out we would have been in trouble. I couldn’t swim because of my arm.”

The pair took out insurance, but were left in a tourist-only medical facility with no food or water for 24 hours after the accident.

Despite being admitted at 3pm on July 22, Mr Carter was not seen by a doctor for more than 24 hours. Staff at the Clinica Esperanca told them this was because doctors did not work on Sundays and they were unable to get in touch with one.


Mr Carter is taken to the clinic.

The couple are not blaming the firm for the freak injury but for the quality of care provided since.

They are asking why companies such as Thomson are able to sell holidays, and the accompanying insurance, when the medical facilities they have covered themselves for are not available.

Mr Carter said: “I was coughing up so much blood where my ribs had been crushed I thought I had a punctured lung. I’m always doing extreme sports but I was just walking down the beach when it happened.

"It was ridiculous, not a single thing went smoothly. The people on Air Luxemburg who flew me home said if my injuries had been just a little bit worse I would not have made it.”

Mr Carter will be unable to work for up to eight weeks, while Miss Catchpole was only able to return to work for a short period after they returned.

Miss Catchpole, a hairdresser, said: “In the ambulance he was waking up screaming then passing out.

“They just kept saying doctor’s coming. We were without food for 24 hours and people kept trying to break into the hospital. The holiday was amazing, but as soon as something went wrong they left us to it.

“It’s definitely made me think about the medical facilities rather than the hotels when going on holiday.”

A spokesman for Thomson said: "We were really sorry to hear of this accident.

"We have been in direct contact  with Mr Carter to check on his welfare, and to better the understand the situation with a view to resolving it.

"We reference Cape Verde’s public beaches flag system and warn of the undercurrents on our website. When customers are in resort we also reiterate this and the importance of paying attention to local advice.

"We would like to take this opportunity to reassure everyone that the health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance.

"We would also encourage everyone, wherever they are travelling to, to check the travel aware section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the latest information on staying healthy and safe abroad."