Caution Urged Over Trips And Activities
Specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have urged holidaymakers bound for Turkey to exercise caution when booking trips and activities.
The warning comes after a string of fatal accidents involving British tourists in Turkey this summer.
The firm is advising tourists to be aware of the increased risk involved when taking part in holiday activities outside the EU, where companies are not subject to EU-level standards of regulation.
Glen Hudson died when his harness snapped while he parasailed with daughter Emma. He fell 150 feet to the ground. The Hudson’s had been holidaying in Turkey for the past nine years and had been on parasailing trips in the past.
Linda Hudson, Glen’s widow, said: “There were no checks. They just strapped them in and sent them up. You think these people know what they are doing – you presume it is safe. I won’t let what happened to Glen go and I will fight for better safety regulations. Even if it saves one more life it will have been worth it.”
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are now liaising with the British Consulate in Turkey and the family’s Turkish lawyer on their behalf, to prepare for legal action against the firm responsible.
As Turkey becomes more popular as a holiday destination, travel experts at the firm are reporting a growing number of deaths while taking part in activities such as parasailing, jeep driving, jet-skiing and ballooning.
The firm also represents Siriol Roe whose husband Perry died following an accident in the resort of Sakilkent in 2006. The couple were travelling in a jeep with their two children when the jeep overturned. The family had booked the sight-seeing excursion through a local travel firm.
Siriol said: “The publicity leaflets we saw were professional and advertised that the company was fully insured. We felt that an organized tourist trip where we travelled in convoy with guides was a safe option. We were driven in the jeep with another family, in a convoy of tourists. The driver was young and seemed inexperienced – he drove dangerously and at high speed.
“We were driving on a country road when he tried to overtake another jeep, losing control of our vehicle and swerving off the road. Our jeep rolled and landed upside down. Most of the passengers were thrown from the vehicle and I was knocked unconscious. Both my children were badly injured and Perry died at the scene.”
Siriol suffered multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen. Both children suffered severe scarring and the family have battled ongoing psychological trauma since the incident.
She added: “Turkey is a beautiful country and understandably very popular with Tourists. However, their standards of health and safety are very different to those in Europe and road safety is particularly poor.”
Gagandeep Singh was also involved in a fatal jeep crash while on holiday in Turkey in 2008 with his wife Jasmail. He has also instructed Irwin Mitchell to seek compensation on his behalf. He said: “We were travelling down a road and, all of a sudden, the driver swerved to avoid a truck which was parked on the right hand side. He swerved too late and the back of the jeep hit the truck causing the accident. I was taken to the local hospital where it was confirmed that I had broken my nose, fractured my jaw and cheekbone and also broken several teeth. I had to have an operation to have my jaw wired in Turkey and I was then flown back to the UK. I was deeply saddened to learn that two holidaymakers were killed in the accident.”
Dr Geraldine Wright and David Mosca were also involved in a fatal accident in Turkey. They were travelling in a hot air balloon with Dr Kevin Buerle last May when the balloon collided with another balloon and fell to the ground.
Dr Wright said: “There were 3 balloons leaving with the same company from the same field. Our balloon was the last to go up and as soon as we did several people commented on how close the balloons were. I looked up and saw the outline of the second balloon above us. The basket of the second balloon touched our canopy which tore leaving a huge hole. As we descended I was knocked unconscious, but I was later told that we had fallen 400 metres”
Dr Wright and Mr Mosca have instructed Irwin Mitchell to pursue a compensation claim against the Turkish balloon trip company.
Turkish law states that claims against native tour operators and excursion providers must be made through the Turkish courts. This often causes delays in support payments for families whose loved ones have been seriously injured.
Demetrius Danas is a travel law expert at Irwin Mitchell. He said: “The Turkish tourism industry’s record on health and safety matters is a real concern. A disproportionate number of the fatalities and serious injuries that we deal with each year have occurred at Turkish resorts, with many tourists not realising that health and safety measures will not be as rigorous as those practiced in similar destinations within the EU.
“We are frequently asked to help in tragic cases like the Roe family’s where activities have been booked directly with independent suppliers who have failed to provide adequate safety measures to protect their customers.
“When booking through a reputable travel agent or tour operator, holidaymakers can be more confident that their activity provider has relevant safety accreditation and adequate insurance. There is no such guarantee with independent providers. Recommendations by fellow tourists, locals or friends cannot take into account hidden risks. We urge all tourists booking trips to non-EU countries to research the safety credentials of any independent activity providers extremely thoroughly – or better still – to book through fully accredited tour operators or travel agents only. This is likely to reduce the risk of things going wrong, and it is likely to improve the prospects of recovering compensation if a mishap does occur.
“We only hope that some lessons can be learnt from the deaths and serious injuries that have already taken place this summer and that no other family should have to suffer in the same way going forward.”
Find out more about making a travel claim.