Holiday Balcony Deaths Trigger Safety Campaign

A recent increase in the number of holidaymakers falling from hotel balconies has resulted in the launch of a safety campaign.

Risks taken by holidaymakers on hotel balconies, especially those holidaymakers in the younger age group, have led to three individuals falling to their deaths during this holiday season, and ten others suffering serious injuries. These accidents have prompted The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to team up with travel association, ABTA, to publicise a health and safety message in an attempt to curb irresponsible behaviour.

Leaflets are to be handed to young people travelling out to resorts, pointing out the dangers of hotel balconies and highlighting the story of 18-year-old Jake Evans who fell from a seventh floor balcony while on holiday last year. Despite a sun lounger breaking his fall, he suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull and wrist, smashed teeth and leg and back damage. He had been leaning over a balcony while drunk, in an attempt to catch a cigarette lighter that had been tossed to him by a friend.

Reasons for the falls have not always been obvious, as in the case of 28-year-old Benjamin Harper who fell to his death in April after going on to a balcony for a cigarette, but among the most avoidable incidents have been individuals climbing on to a neighbouring balcony and others jumping from the balcony into a swimming pool.

An FCO spokesman commented that most of the incidents involved 18 to 35-year-olds, and that alcohol was often a contributory factor.