Hotel injury at Kilifi Bay Resort
An idyllic Christmas holiday in Kenya turned into a horrific nightmare for a Maidstone family, after a faulty poolside shower electrocuted their young daughter.
12-year-old Alexandra Miles was on a two-week festive break with parents, Joanna and Wayne at the Kilifi Bay Resort on the Mombassa coast, booked through First Choice, when the accident happened shortly after 5pm on Christmas Day.
Alexandra had just returned from the beach to use the hotels poolside shower.. As she attempted to turn on the tap, she received a severe electric shock as 240 volts of electricity passed through her body. A passer-by heard her screams and, realising that she was stuck to the tap and unable to move, managed to pull her away.
Her frantic parents tried to summon emergency services but this was not available and instead with the help of two resort staff they used the hotels courtesy bus to rush her to the nearby Kilifi Village Hospital 6km away.
Her mother Joanna Miles explained: "We could not believe what we were seeing. Kilifi Hospital was little more than a shack, with a corrugated tin roof and razor wire around the walls and everyone was speaking in Swahili.
"My husband carried Alexandra inside and we were absolutely shocked by the filthy conditions that we were immediately faced with. Our daughter was placed on an examination table which was rusty and covered with dried blood. We had to pick our way through blood stained swabs which were littering the floor, whilst my husband tried to move a bin overflowing with blood stained dressings and used syringes next to Alexandra's head."
"My husband tried desperately to contact our First Choice rep using our own mobile phone, but was told that he could not come to the hospital as he was spending Christmas Day with his family and he had no transport! He gave us the number of the First Choice Quality Health and Safety Coordinator for Kenya but he told us that he could only come out to us on Boxing Day as he too was spending Christmas with family and had no car.
"When the Paediatrician finally arrived after about an hour he realised we were very uncomfortable with the situation as we were still in our swimming costumes and in shock so he then took us into an auxiliary cupboard to run rudimentary tests on Alexandra."
Mrs Miles continued: "Due to the severity of Alexandra's condition, they wanted to admit Alexandra but I was so horrified by the conditions there that I refused, reluctantly we felt there was no other choice but to take her back to the hotel.
"We were absolutely terrified we were going to lose our only child and my husband and I spent the next 48 hours back at the hotel keeping a vigil by her bedside, trying desperately to keep both ourselves and her awake scared that if she fell asleep she would not wake up again."
Solicitor comments on Kilifi Bay Resort incident
Guy Bailey, a solicitor with Irwin Mitchells International Travel Litigation Group, said: "Our investigations into Alexandra's accident point to faulty underground electricity cables. The main cables to the resort ran directly under the poolside shower and the shower tray which was made from conductive metal, acted as a conductor when the cables shorted. Enquiries have also revealed that two other holidaymakers had received electric shocks from the same poolside shower earlier and yet it appears steps were not taken to close off the shower area until 7 days after Alexandra's accident."
Mr Bailey continued: "We have already received an admission of liability from First Choice regarding Alexandra's accident although a final settlement for damages is still to be agreed.
"We are also handling a separate claim against the tour operators, on behalf of the Miles family and a further 12 holidaymakers who were struck down with severe gastric illness during their stay at Kilifi Bay Resort in December 2005."
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