1. ITV Report

Three holiday makers sue travel company after being injured by waves on beach

Rene Dickinson was hospitalised in Cape Verde for three days with a broken leg before being flown back to the UK for surgery. Credit: SWNS

Three British tourists are suing a tour operator after they were injured by waves at a beach while holidaying in Cape Verde.

Rene Dickinson, 48, Margaret Nuckley, 60, and Joanne Hunt, 50, were staying in the five-star Riu Touareg resort in Boa Vista in 2012 when they were struck by the waves at a private stretch of coast.

They all suffered fractures or broken bones and are suing Tui because they claim flags showed it was safe to swim.

Thomson, which is part of Tui, sells holidays to the resort and apparently advertised a private beach nearby.

All of the complainants were injured by waves at a private beach in the five-star Riu Touareg resort in Cape Verde. Credit: SWNS

Qualified diver Rene Dickinson, from Wigan, Lancashire, was hit by a wave as he was walking out of the water in May 2012.

He was hospitalised for a broken leg and three days later had to be flown back to Hope Hospital in Manchester, for surgery and blood transfusions.

Rene Dickinson broke his leg after he was hit by a strong wave at the beach. Credit: SWNS

As I am a qualified rescue diver and a strong swimmer, I thought I would be okay because there were no red flags warning us not to enter to sea.

However, as I was coming out of the sea, I was hit by a wave which was so powerful that it fractured my leg.

People also told me there were others injured by the waves which were far too strong for people to be swimming.

– Rene Dickinson

Retired nurse Margaret Nuckley from Sandown, Isle of Wight, was two days into a two-week break, when she was hit by a wave while getting out of the sea in September 2012.

She fractured her leg, was wheelchair bound while abroad, had to have surgery, and claims she still struggles to walk.

"I've been in agony ever since," she said.

A few weeks later therapist Joanne Hunt suffered spinal fractures when she was hit by a wave as she waded into the water during a week-long break with her partner in October 2012.

Margaret Nuckley (left) fractured her leg and Joanne Hunt (right) sustained spinal injuries from strong waves at the resort in Cape Verde. Credit: SWNS

She was helped out of the sea by a fellow guest before being strapped to a board by a lifeguard.

The mum was then flown to Tenerife for nine days of treatment, before she went back to the UK where she stayed in hospital for six weeks and was fitted with a brace.

She said that she is "all too aware" her injuries could have been worse, adding: "What might happen if a child or elderly person entered the sea in those conditions doesn't bear thinking about."

Representing the tourists, Philip Banks, of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: "All three of our clients suffered serious injuries and on all three occasions the flagging system on the beach apparently indicated that they could enter the sea.

"We have been left with no choice but to issue court proceedings against TUI UK Ltd as they have continued to deny liability for the injuries sustained by our clients.

"We hope to resolve this matter fairly and quickly to enable our clients to receive compensation for their injuries and to get the treatment and rehabilitation that they now need to help with their on-going recovery."

A spokesperson for TUI UK Ltd said: "We were, of course, sorry to hear of the experiences of these three customers in Cape Verde in 2012. However, as this is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

"We'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the ultimate priority for Thomson and First Choice remains the health and safety of our customers."