Tourist sues for $840K over thrill ride back injury
A UK tourist is suing a Whitsunday jet boat company for $840,000 over alleged safety negligence after she was injured during a thrill ride off Hamilton Island.
Janet Elizabeth Turner claims she now suffers chronic pain and needs heavy medication after smashing into the seat during the ride and fracturing her back.
In paperwork filed in the Rockhampton Supreme Court, lawyers for the 53 year old alleged the jetboat operators, Hamilton Island Water Sports Pty Ltd, breached their duty of care.
It is alleged the company's failure to secure cushions and provide a seatbelt resulted in Ms Turner's injury. She is suing for $840,100 in damages.
Ms Turner had been travelling in the region with family and opted for a 30-minute jetboat ride on Hamilton Island on September 18, 2017.
The claim states yellow cushions, about one inch thick, were placed on each wooden bench but not secured in place and there were no seatbelts available for passenger use.
It is alleged after leaving the marina the driver of the boat steered the vessel in a zigzag pattern.
"(The driver) announced he was going to count to three before steering the speedboat into a spin," the file states.
Following this Ms Turner moved to a different seat before the driver began another zigzag pattern before announcing another spin - he counted to three and turned the boat sharply, it is alleged.
Ms Turner alleges she was "propelled up off her seat" while her feet remained on the boat's floor and as this happened the cushion slid from the bench.
She claims when she slammed back onto the seat she "suffered immediate pain in her back".
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers special counsel Darren Moore alleged, during the course of the ride, the cushion on her seat came loose and "she smashed into a metal pole and fractured her back".
"She now suffers from pain on a daily basis," Mr Moore said.
"The jetboat operators had a duty to take reasonable precautions against risk of injury to those travelling on the boat, including Ms Turner.
Mr Moore alleged a "failure to secure the cushions and to provide a seatbelt lead to Ms Turner's injury".
"As a result of these injuries, Ms Turner now suffers from ongoing pain which can only be controlled with strong medication," Mr Moore said.
"Ms Turner will require ongoing care and assistance due to her medical condition.
"Her work in her chosen career as a laboratory technician is now also significantly limited due ongoing problems with her back."
Hamilton Island Water Sports Pty Ltd was contacted for comment but did not reply before publication.