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13 Jun 2018

BY James Chapple

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British holidaymakers risking lives with balcony antics - Abta

British holidaymakers are being urged to avoid taking undue risks on hotel balconies this summer following a series of fatal falls.

Magaluf nightlife, Majorca
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British holidaymakers risking their lives with balcony antics - Abta

Over the past three months, there have been at least nine serious high profile incidents, according to Abta - five of which were fatal.


The association said on Wednesday (June 13) its members reported 12 similar balcony incidents in 2017, one fatal and 11 resulting in serious injury.


Abta though says as this is just data reported by its members, it is likely only the tip of the iceberg.


“The association believes the total number of balcony falls to be much higher,” it said on Wednesday.


Abta has now teamed up with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to call on holidaymakers to avoid risking heir lives by climbing, running or jumping on hotel balconies this summer.


It comes after reports of two such serious falls in June already. On June 3, a 20-year-old man fatally fell 65ft from an apartment balcony in Magaluf.


Days later, on June 8, a 21-year-old man narrowly avoided the same fate after also falling from a balcony in Magaluf, breaking his leg and jaw.


Nikki White, Abta’s director of destinations and sustainability, said: "With many people heading off on their summer holiday in the coming weeks, we strongly advise them to take care when on balconies and be aware about the potential risks.


“A moment of carelessness can have a devastating impact, not just on the holidaymaker themselves, but also on their family and friends.


“By working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Abta members and local authorities in resort, we hope to help holidaymakers look after themselves and stay safe on holiday."


Abta says many incidents occur due to holidaymakers taking risks, such as climbing from one balcony to another or jumping into the pool from their balcony. Alcohol is often a significant contributing factor, the association added.


Younger people are particularly at risk, with seven of the nine accidents reported in recent months involving teenagers or people in their 20s.


Julia Longbottom, FCO consular director, added: “Unfortunately, we have already seen a number of fatalities and very serious injuries caused by balcony falls this summer.


“We really do urge people to avoid taking risks around balconies. We will continue to work with teams in resorts this summer to ensure the message is communicated to holidaymakers.


“While it is very important to make preparations ahead of holidays – such as taking out the right insurance – travellers should think about safety risks whilst on holiday too.


“Think balcony, safety, look out for friends and family and avoid doing anything that might cost a life.”


Abta and the FCO have publicly issued guidance on balcony safety, and distributed it to members.


It advises: never leaning over, sitting or climbing on the balcony wall or railings; not trying to pass items to someone on another balcony; not climbing from one balcony to another; not standing on balcony furniture; never jumping into a pool from a balcony; and being aware of the effect of alcohol on judgement.

 

The most recent examples of balcony falls include:

  • March 18 – a teacher in his 20s fell to his death from a balcony in Dubai
  • March 19 – a student, 22, fell to his death from fourth-floor balcony in Majorca
  • April 7 – a 24-year-old male was seriously injured falling 22ft from a second-floor balcony in Magaluf
  • April 27 – a Scottish teenager, 19, died after falling from the seventh floor of her holiday apartment in Magaluf
  • April 30 – a 33-year-old male, was injured falling from a hotel balcony in Portugal
  • May 1 – a man in his 20s was seriously injured falling from a third floor hotel balcony in Magaluf
  • May 29 – a man in his 50s died after falling from a 15th floor balcony in Thailand
  • June 3 – a 20-year-old male fatally fell 65ft from an apartment balcony in Magaluf
  • June 8 – a 21-year-old male suffered injuries including a broken leg and a broken jaw after falling from his balcony in Magaluf
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