A nurse recovering from cancer has won compensation from holiday bosses after she broke her a back when a pleasure boat catapulted her into the air in rough seas.
Carol Smith, 53, was enjoying a trip to see sharks in Cancun, Mexico, when she was thrown from her seat.
The mum-of-two from Wakefield was enjoying a relaxing break with husband Nigel, 54, in June 2011 after radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
The couple arranged a six-hour boat trip to see and swim with whale sharks. But as the boat headed further out to sea clouds thickened and the weather worsened.
Passengers pleaded with the captain to return to shore as torrential rain and huge waves lashed the side of the boat, causing some to be violently sick.
But instead he carried on out to sea - an hour later Carol was screaming in agony when a freak wave threw her out of the hard plastic seat.
She said: “The captain seemed to think it was a race and we were flying past other boats even though everyone was crashing around on board and pleading to go back to shore. When I was thrown into the air I just couldn’t move and I thought I’d been paralysed. I just had to try and sit still on the boat and hold on.”
In agony and with her holiday ruined, Carol only discovered she had fractured her back in two places when she went to A&E after returning to the UK. She spent three weeks in hospital and had to wear a special body brace for eight weeks.
Lawyers Irwin Mitchell secured her a five-figure settlement from tour operator Thomson Holidays. Carol said: “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.”