A bride told how she was “horrifically” injured and swept into the sea with 20 other guests when glass panels on an infinity pool collapsed during her dream £11,000 Caribbean honeymoon.
Jelizaveta Jones, 29, and husband Gavin, of Colindale, “couldn’t breathe” as they were submerged under a torrent of water at the five-star Sandals Royal Curaçao. Mrs Jones suffered cuts and bruises to her head and leg in the incident, within hours of the couple arriving at the new resort set in 3,000 acres on Spanish Water Bay.
Police on the Dutch Caribbean island said at least 12 people were hurt as the walls of the sea-facing pool failed on Thursday.
Some were washed down the beach by tons of water and had to be taken by ambulance to hospital. A woman tourist was trapped under one glass panel but soon regained consciousness.
Mrs Jones, also known as Elizabeth — a sales executive for a US software company — told the Standard: “It was horrible, there was no warning.
“I was facing my husband, talking to him in the pool. Then I saw him go under first, then maybe five seconds later, I went. I was stuck beneath the water. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe. It was all happening very quickly. I was trying to get up to the surface for some air, but the current was too strong. I couldn’t do anything.
“After I was washed away, I staggered up to my feet, limping with blood coming out of my head and leg... horrific. Every time I close my eyes, I relive it.”
Curaçao police say their initial investigation suggests the glass broke because too many people were in the pool during a party, according to local media.
Bar and nightclub director Mr Jones, 44, added: “We’d only been in the resort less than 24 hours and were having a few drinks. I was stood with my back to the sea chatting to my wife when one of the panels in the middle of the pool just disappeared. The weight of the water took me, Elizabeth and a lot of other people and washed us about 30 yards down the beach”.
He added: “I banged my head as I went back and slipped over. I looked at my wife and she was dazed. Blood was pouring out of her head. She sustained cuts and had to have stitches.”
The Joneses said hotel staff were very caring in the aftermath but claimed that Sandals management have been “truly atrocious”. Other tourists complained the firm tried to play down the incident, by saying the pool “experienced an issue”.
Mr Jones said he was told “accidents do happen” and offered a credit note for a future stay.
The couple married last August but could not take a honeymoon until now because of Covid and a family illness.
A Sandals Resorts International spokesman said: “Thankfully, there were only a small number of guests in the pool... our resort team worked quickly to ensure all were provided with immediate support and medical attention.”