A devastated family is praying a young man who broke his neck in a holiday accident will pull through an operation.

David Briffaut, 23, from Benfleet, is on a life support machine awaiting an operation in a Spanish hospital after breaking two vertebrae going down a water slide, at the Aqualandia tourist attraction in Benidorm.

Southend Standard:

Happy couple - David and Penny on the holiday that turned to tragedy

The operation is taking place today. 

His parents Lorraine and Stephane have flown out to be with their son.

His uncle Mark Pooley said: “He is sedated and on ventilation and has an infection in his right lung, which thankfully seems under control. We are hoping he can have his operation to put a plate in his neck. He has a tracheotomy so he can breath."

Mr Briffaut, was holidaying with his girlfriend Penny Bristow, 22, to celebrate her graduation when the accident happened on July 8.

Mr Briffaut had not been drinking and had used the slide in the proper way.

Mr Pooley said: “The ride is designed to go headfirst. That is clear from a promotional poster at the resort.

“We want to know why this has happened. It should never happen to anyone else.

“It’s a family tragedy and we are all devastated. His life is never going to be the same again”

Mr Briffaut did have holiday insurance but the family has launched a fundraiser for his ongoing care once he is home.

Mr Briffaut is a green keeper at Boyce Hill Golf Club.

Secretary Margaret Carter said Mr Briffaut’s colleagues and members at the club had been shocked by his accident and a fundraiser is currently being planned.

She said: “David has been here for a year and a half as a full-time member of staff.

"He is a very popular member of the team and we are all devastated."

A spokesman for the park said the slide was "completely safe" and that it accepted no responsibility for the accident.

David’s loved ones and friends have opened a JustGiving page. 

To donate, click here.