A top spinal surgeon has urged British holidaymakers to recognise the dangers posed by water parks and shallow diving as they set off on their summer holidays.

Evan Davies, a consultant spinal surgeon at University Hospital Southampton, said he operated recently on a patient who fractured his spine diving onto hidden rocks in Croatia.

Mr Davies said that rarely a year goes by when he doesn’t treat the consequences of shallow diving.

Evan Davies, “It is so important that, in the excitement of being on holiday, people remember life can change in an instant and that has been evident recently both in my own patient cases and in the news.

“When you are relaxed and enjoying the moment with family and friends, undoubtedly that feeling of fun and invincibility can take over.

“However, as a spinal surgeon, I will often see the consequences of that moment of light-hearted fun — in the worst cases causing paralysis and, on some occasions, proving fatal.”

Mr Davies also said he was “extremely concerned” to learn of the injuries sustained by 23-year-old David Briffaut on the ‘Splash’ water slide in Benidorm and urged others to take note.

David Briffaut snapped two vertebrae in his neck on the head-first water slide in Spain.

Mr Davies said, “What can often look on the face of it to be a quick and innocent thrill on these attractions can have potential to cause significant injury — that is something any impact head on at high speed can cause.

“My message would be to remember that health warnings won’t be high on the agenda at many holiday attractions and destinations and, in many countries, regulations and monitoring can vary greatly.

“So carry out a quick assessment of your own when visiting attractions such as water parks and, if you have a doubt about safety, avoid it.”

Last reviewed 9 August 2019