21 February 2018
Couple Feared They Would Die as Tenerife Club Dance Floor Collapsed
A British couple who were injured after they plunged into the basement when a dance floor collapsed in Tenerife feared they were victims of a terrorist bombing.
Brian Young, 58, and Kevin Dilworth, 59, were sitting on the edge of a dance floor when it crumbled into the basement below, injuring more than 20 people.
This was a horrendous and traumatic incident for Brian and Kevin and they are lucky to be alive.
The couple, from Gateshead, were on holiday when they visited the Butterfly Disco Pub in Playa de las Americas and they suddenly felt the floor dropping three inches. The next moment they were falling through the air into the basement below.
Brian, who suffered ligament damage said: “We were sat on the edge of the stage and I felt the floor move. I said to Kevin that the floor had dropped two or three inches. No sooner had I said that and the whole area collapsed into the room below.
“I remember falling through the air with concrete falling down after me. I was unconscious when I hit the floor. When I came to there was concrete on my leg. I looked across to Kevin and he looked like he was standing up in the rubble when he was trapped in an upright position. He couldn’t move and I shouted for him to go as there was more concrete falling on top of us.
“At first I thought there must have been a terrorist attack on foreign tourists. People were lying all over the place, bloodied and covered in building dust. My main concern was to get me and my partner to safety. I was convinced the rest of the debris would fall on us and kill us. There was concrete hanging down with exposed metal rods. I thought that was it.”
He added: “When we were waiting for help I thought the roof was going to fall down and squash us. I started to video the scene to show people we were alive. It was like something out of a disaster movie with people lying all over the place in the debris. I was going in and out of consciousness.
“It could have been so much worse. God only knows how so many people fell through a floor with so much rubble and survive. It was absolutely terrifying and the scariest thing that has ever happened in my life.”
Kevin, who is a nurse, shattered his ankle and has been confined to a wheelchair since the accident.
He said: “One moment I was having a drink and the next I felt this woosh and we were plunged into darkness. I felt like I was sinking into the Earth and into blackness. I felt like I was in a dream state and it was really frightening. I didn’t black out and I found myself in an upright position, up to my waist in rubble. Where I had been texting just before the fall I was holding my mobile.
“I couldn’t feel my left foot and I knew it was fractured. I could hear people screaming and when I looked down I could see a load of bodies below me. The horrific scene reminded me of those old black and white movies when they tried to depict bodies on the bowels of hell. That’s what it looked like to me.
“There was a girl to my right who had blood on her face and she was screaming hysterically I could see another guy with blood down his face and he was covered in concrete dust.”
The pair were helped out of the club by firefighters and laid out on the pavement. Kevin’s foot was so badly twisted that a doctor had to pull it back into place despite not having any pain relief.
Kevin said: “I was taken outside and a doctor said I needed to have my foot twisted back into place but they had no pain killers. I asked him how he was going to do it and the next moment he twisted my ankle. The pain was indescribable. I have never felt such agony.”
Kevin underwent an operation on his shattered ankle and had to spend nine days in a Tenerife hospital. He then flew back to the UK where he had to spend a further five at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary.
He has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, suffered from depression and is worried he will not be able to finish his degree in fashion at Newcastle College as he still struggles to get out of the house.
He added: “I find it difficult to get around and at night time I start to panic. I’ve had really vivid nightmares about people being killed. People want to talk about what happened to me and everything comes back. I’m forced to remember something I tried to forget.”
Now the couple are trying to rebuild their lives after the trauma but Brian is grateful that they had taken out insurance so they were able to get home.
He said: “When I was young we never got insurance, we just went on without even thinking about it. But can you imagine the cost of air lifting Kevin home after treating him abroad? It would have been tens of thousands of pounds. I am just glad that we did as the last thing you expect is to go on holiday, be in a nightclub and have the floor collapse into the floor below.”
The couple have now launched legal action against the nightclub for personal injury caused during the collapse.
Mike Hagan, a specialist travel lawyer from Slater and Gordon, which represents Brian and Kevin, said: “This was a horrendous and traumatic incident for Brian and Kevin and they are lucky to be alive. The collapse of the dance floor has not only left the physical injuries that are yet to heal, but also the mental scars that may never leave them. It is crucial that public places such as nightclubs regularly have their structure checked to ensure this never happens again.”
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