WEDDING FROM HELL Couple left distraught after dream £25,000 Cuba
wedding turns to disaster when hotel roof COLLAPSED leaving bride
permanently scarred and groom with broken ribs
Sarah and John Wenham were both injured the day before the wedding of
BY BRITTANY VONOW AND MEGAN WHITE 8th February 2017, 11:06 am
A BRIDE and groom had their dream wedding destroyed after the roof of
their hotel lobby collapsed – trapping their family and guests under debris.
Sarah and John Wenham had saved for years for ‘the wedding of their
dreams’ in Cuba, costing more than £25,000 for themselves and 24 guests.
The couple’s big day was ruined after the hotel lobby collapsed during
their rehearsal dinner
But they were left fearing for their lives when the lobby roof at Sol
Rio De Luna y Mares Hotel, in Cuba, suddenly buckled and collapsed –
trapping them underneath and injuring many members of the wedding party,
including the bride.
Sarah, 35, said: “We were just about to meet with hotel staff to discuss
our wedding plans in the lobby, when John pointed out the ceiling as it
started to move.
“A loud ‘bang’ followed as the roof then suddenly collapsed and fell
upon us, trapping us underneath.”
Couple left injured after roof collapses before their dream Cuba wedding
Tour company Thomas Cook have now apologised for the incident in August
last year, saying they had done “everything we could” to support the family.
Sarah relived the horror, saying that roof debris knocked the group
“clean to the ground”.
She said: “It was so heavy that I couldn’t move under it, and I was
terrified because I couldn’t get to my daughters who I could hear
screaming from somewhere beneath the debris.
“I saw the blood start to gush from my head and I genuinely thought in
that moment that I was going to die.”
John, from Gravesend, Kent, says he looked up after they had been in the
lobby for around ten minutes to find the ceiling moving.
He shouted at Sarah and their nine-year-old daughter Mia to run, pushing
them out of the way.
But as the ceiling fell, he leaped in front of baby Penny, 20-months, to
shield her from the debris, taking the brunt of the weight.
John added: “It was horrifying – sheer fright.
“When we eventually found Sarah, it took two people to lift the debris
off her and I had to crawl underneath and drag her out.
“After the incident, we were all traumatised.
“We didn’t know what to do for the best.
“In one split-second everything we’d planned and saved for so long was gone.
“We felt terrible that so many people had spent so much money and had
travelled so far to be with us for our special day and then this happened.
“So when we were told that the wedding could still go ahead at another
venue at the last minute, we felt we had no option but to go ahead with it.
“Unfortunately, we’ll now always remember the wedding as being a
distraction from the horrifying events of the day before.
“We couldn’t enjoy it and we just wanted to go home.
“That’s not how we should remember our wedding day.”
John was left with two fractured ribs, an injured spleen and severe
Sarah suffered head and eye injuries and required ten stitches to a deep
laceration on her face, which is now likely to leave a permanent scar.
Several other members of the wedding party suffered serious injuries,
including head and spinal injuries, a leg fracture and a deep head
laceration, with one guest requiring 19 stitches across the top of her
Sarah suffered head and eye injuries, as well as needing ten stitches to
a cut on her face after the roof crashed down on top of her
John said: “The only way we could get over it was to have the wedding,
to try and mask what had happened.
“Sarah won’t look at the pictures because she’s got stitches on her face
– it shouldn’t be like that.
“I couldn’t walk properly, I couldn’t lift her over threshold and I
couldn’t even pick the kids up for five to six weeks.”
When the couple did have their ceremony at a different hotel, Playa
Pesquero, it was in the foyer, and not the beach wedding they had planned.
But this was far from the end of the couple’s problems.
Even before the roof collapse, on just the second day of their
disastrous holiday, Sarah and John’s hotel room was flooded with sewage,
damaging clothes, their children’s toys and un-opened wedding gifts.
A wedding guest suffered from a broken leg after the ceiling collapsed
The couple say despite their bags and clothing being ruined, their
belongings were never replaced.
In other rooms there were exposed wires which John, an electrician,
described as looking ‘deadly’.
John and many of the other guests, including Mia and Penny, also
suffered from diarrhoea and sickness throughout the holiday – later
confirmed to be salmonella.
The couple have now instructed personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell
to take legal action against tour operator, Thomas Cook.
Jennifer Lund, a partner in the specialist international personal injury
team at Irwin Mitchell, representing the group, said: “Sarah, John and
their closest family and friends should have been overjoyed on what was
supposed to have been an incredible holiday, centred around a magical
“Instead, the whole trip ended up being a terrifying ordeal that will
forever be etched in their memories for all of the wrong reasons.
“We are investigating the cause of the roof collapse at the Sol Rio De
Luna y Mares Hotel as well as the group’s other complaints.
“We are seeking to recover a settlement to help each of our clients with
their recovery and to compensate them following the dreadful ordeal they
“Our thoughts are with all of those injured, and we wish them a speedy
“We would be grateful to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the
roof collapse or its aftermath or who can provide information about
illnesses suffered by guests during stays at the Sol Rio De Luna y Mares
Hotel, as they may be able to help with our enquiries.”
A Thomas Cook spokesperson said: “Clearly this is totally unacceptable
and we are in close contact with the hotel to understand how it happened.
“We are very sorry and disappointed that this occurred on what should
have been such a happy occasion.
“We did everything we could to support the Wenham family and all those
affected after the accident, and we continue to take this matter very
Source: Couple left distraught after dream £25,000 Cuba wedding turns to
disaster when hotel roof COLLAPSED leaving bride permanently scarred and
groom with broken ribs –