A Seaford woman who claims her dream Caribbean holiday turned into a nightmare when a runaway jeep left her with devastating injuries is suing a tour operator for six-figure damages.
Caroline White, 61, says she was on a 15-day package tour of Cuba, costing £1,729, in April 2011 when an off-road vehicle she was travelling in suffered mechanical failure and careered down the side of a mountain, “wholly out of control”, before crashing to a halt.
Mrs White, of Grove Road, is seeking hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation for a head injury, psychological injuries and multiple fractures, including broken ribs, elbow and collarbone.
She has lodged a High Court writ, suing Explore Worldwide Ltd, of Farnborough, Hants, claiming the tour company is legally obliged to compensate her for her injuries.
In the writ, Mrs White’s barrister, Matthew Chapman, says she was travelling over Cuba’s highest mountains, the Sierra Maestra (pictured), in a Suzuki 4WD, driven by a Cuban national, when disaster struck. The barrister explains that, on April 16 2011, Mrs White, along with her sister and brother-in-law, were in the Suzuki, which was part of a “convoy of jeeps” carrying the tour party up and over the mountains when they noticed that “the driver seemed to be having difficulty engaging the gears.”
“The vehicle was eventually able to reach the top of the hill and began to descend the other side,” the writ states. “The 4WD vehicle picked up speed. The driver pumped the brake pedal in a frantic manner. After continuing to pick up speed, the 4WD vehicle, which was wholly out of control, briefly became airborne before proceeding through fencing and shrubbery until it came to a halt. By reason of the accident, Mrs White sustained personal injury...”
Mr Chapman claims that the vehicle and the manner in which it was driven were “obviously defective”. The barrister argues that Mrs White’s claim would be worth at least £300,000. The defence of Explore Worldwide Ltd to the action was not available from the court and the contents of the writ have not been tested in evidence before a judge.