Call For Answers Over Resort Safety Following Devastating Injury

Holidaymaker Speaks Out After Terrifying Staircase Plunge

19.12.2011

A woman who suffered horrific injuries after falling eight feet from an open staircase at a Greek hotel is calling on tour operator First Choice to take responsibility.

Carole Anne Peters, 55 from Chineham in Basingstoke, was at the end of a two-week stay at the Iliada Hotel in Santorini in June this year when the incident happened, leaving her with a head injury and open fracture to her right arm.

Carole Anne was airlifted from the local clinic in Santorini, where she received stitches to her head, to a hospital in Athens. She then had to wait 24 hours before being flown back to the UK to undergo emergency surgery to her arm,

Now, still unable to return to full-time work, the council worker has called on travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell to help her prove First Choice’s accountability and gain answers as to why the staircase was not fitted with a rail which could have prevented the fall. She is also seeking an apology over the lack of support First Choice offered in the aftermath of the incident.

Lesley Edwards, a solicitor in the International Travel Law team in the national law firm’s Birmingham office, is acting for Carole Anne in her claim against the tour operator. Lesley said: “This incident did more than spoil the final few days of our client’s holiday in the sun, it has had a huge impact on her life and the life of those close to her which she continues to endure on a day-to-day basis.

“We want First Choice to acknowledge and apologise for the lack of a handrail or fencing on the exposed aspect of the stairs and we want them to work with us sensibly to reduce the impact that the injuries will have on Carole’s future quality of life. We also want First Choice to take urgent action to put measures in place to prevent the same accident from happening again. 

Carole Anne recalled: “It was the penultimate day of the holiday and we had both enjoyed a really good break in the sunshine.

“We were returning to our apartment after a meal and all I remember is losing my footing on the second step down the stairs. Naturally, I put my hand out to hold onto something – but there was nothing there.”

She outlined: “I was conscious of holding my head together as it was bleeding profusely, at which point my husband told me to keep still as I had severely cut my head and had an open fracture to my right arm which was bent up over my head. 

“There was a lot of blood and I went into complete shock. I was in absolute agony and the sight of it was unbearable. Fortunately, other holidaymakers witnessed the accident and called an ambulance.  It was the only ambulance on the island and took what seemed like an unbearable 45 minutes to arrive. I was then taken to a local clinic in Santorini.”

“I was scared to be in a foreign hospital on my own, especially considering the language barrier,” she outlines. “We didn’t know what was happening and my husband was distraught and having to deal with the insurers to get me back to the UK. We called the First Choice rep several times and begged her to come and help us but she said she was too busy to help us at all – First Choice was literally no help at all through the entire ordeal.”

“I’m also now on half-pay as a result of my sick leave so this incident has had a physical, emotional and now financial impact on me. All I want is answers as to why no one had looked at the stairwell and seen the obvious dangers before.

Lesley Edwards of Irwin Mitchell, who specialises in representing victims of serious injury sustained abroad through no fault of their own, added: “Tour operators and hotel managers have a duty to ensure that their sites meet required safety standards and there is a clear concern that the potential risks in relation to the stairwell in this case were simply ignored.

“It is absolutely vital that a full assessment is undertaken to consider the safety of the stairwell and other access points at the hotel, with a view to ensuring that the same problems will not affect anyone else in the future.

“Only then can we seriously believe that lessons have been learned from the terrible injuries suffered by our client.”