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Electrocuted on holiday – one family’s nightmare Christmas break

Over 2.5 million Brits travel to Africa every year to experience the splendour this vast continent has to offer. BBC's Save My Holiday programme recently highlighted the Miles family's disastrous holiday in Kenya. In 2005, the Miles family were part of that number, having booked and paid £3,200 for parents Wayne and Joanna and 11 year old daughter Alexandra to enjoy a Christmastime holiday of a lifetime in Kenya.

The holiday didn’t start well, with standards at their hotel well below what they were expecting – but poor maintenance, shoddy facilities and lack of air conditioning were soon to become the least of their worries.

To escape the poor conditions at the hotel, the Miles family booked to go on a safari which they thoroughly enjoyed, seeing Africa’s breathtaking wildlife at close quarters.

As Christmas Day approached the hotel began to decorate around the pool area, festooning trees with lights. But not the low wattage bulbs required – there were at least 21 100watt bulbs per tree – and the Miles’ were quick to point out the dangers to management, only to be ignored.

Worse still, the plumbing and electricity supplies to the hotel were laid together, giving minor electric shocks to guests using their room showers.

Electric shocks in showers at hotel – Save my Holiday

But on Christmas Day 2005, having returned from an afternoon at the beach, Wayne and Joanna were gathering their things together whilst 11 year old Alexandra went to rinse off at the poolside shower. That was when they heard the screams.

Alexandra had suffered a 240 volt electric shock on touching the shower’s temperature dial. Whilst another guest got her away from the shower as her parents rushed to her side, Alexandra went into shock, shaking and complaining of feeling numb. In fact, she was semi-paralysed.

With the nearest hospital 60km away, Alexandra was taken to a local medical centre where it was hours before she was seen by a qualified paediatrician. During this time her parents contacted their tour operator rep, who was of no help, saying that he was spending Christmas Day with his family and was not prepared to come out to help them.

During this time Alexandra was critically ill and in danger of having a seizure at any time. Her parents had to make a heartbreaking decision – allow Alexandra to be taken on an arduous road journey to Mombasa hospital, or return to their air-conditioned hotel room where they fully expected their beloved daughter to die.

They chose the second option, and stayed with their daughter every moment throughout the critical hours. However, on Boxing Day Alexandra started to pull through and has since recovered - though with life-changing and lasting effects from her electric shock injuries.

Alexandra and her family were able to claim compensation of £57,000 for this holiday accident, though this compensation money will not let Alexandra forget the terror of that day and the hours that followed.

If you are planning to visit an ‘exotic’ location do make sure that you establish how close to your hotel the best medical facilities are and if you have any concerns at all, speak to your tour operator or travel agent before booking your trip.

If you have been injured due to hazards at your hotel abroad then you could be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries. Get in touch today on:

Freephone: 0808 145 1353 or drop us a line using the form above.

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Dated: 07/02/2011


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