British tourist sues tour operator over accident in Sri Lanka

A British woman has decided to sue a tour operator after an accident in Sri Lanka where a palm tree fell on her legs.

The British woman has spoken out of her terror that she would never be able to walk again after she was crushed by a palm tree while sunbathing in Sri Lanka, The Sun reported.

Claire Saywell said that she had been relaxing at the four-star Club Hotel Dolphin resort when the 50ft tree crashed down, shattering her legs.

The 42-year-old recounted the terrifying incident, saying: “I was dozing in the sun with my eyes closed and the next thing I knew I had this excruciating pain in my legs.

“I remember seeing the tree and screaming, ‘Get it off me’, as the pain was nothing like I’ve ever experienced.”

Looking down at her legs, that had been left looking “deformed”, the commercial insurance broker said that all she could think was that her legs were gone.

The woman, from Sittingbourne, Kent, said: “My legs were bent down in a V shape where the sun lounger had broken and when the men managed to get the tree off, my legs looked deformed with my feet going in different directions.

“I will never get that vision out of my head. I thought my legs were gone.

“Everyone was running around panicking and I was trying to avoid looking at my legs as they were such a mess.”

The woman had booked her holiday through Thomson and travelled there on a Thomson Jet, with it a First Choice Holiday.

She said that it took 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, with a second Brit tourist also hurt when the giant tree came crashing down in February.

Mrs Sawywell, who had been holidaying with her husband Darren, had to be transferred to Colombo for treatment.

There, she had titanium pins inserted in her legs, staying in hospital for 12 days before being able to fly home on a private jet.

Mrs Saywell, who is now taking legal action, said she ended up with two broken legs, and suffers nightmares, flashbacks and a fear of going abroad.

She said: “Personally I would take down all of the palm trees around where people sunbathe to prevent this happening again.

“We’ve been offered a free holiday but I don’t want to go back.”

Larry Shaw, of law firm Slater and Gordon, which represents Mrs Saywell, said: “It is crucial that holiday resorts and tour operators ensure trees are properly inspected and maintained to avoid incidents like this happening again.”

TUI has been contacted for comment. (Colombo Gazette)