Millions of young Britons warned after deadly hotel balcony falls
THREE young Britons have been killed in holiday falls this summer, prompting government officials to warn people to take care on balconies while overseas.
Figures released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also revealed that ten people from the UK had been seriously injured while on holiday abroad.
Some of the incidents involved alcohol, and young tourists are also being urged to drink sensibly while abroad.
In the popular holiday islands of Majorca and Ibiza, there have been nine cases this year so far – the equivalent of the total number of incidents for the whole of 2011.
Most of the recent incidents have involved people aged 18 to 35, with alcohol often playing a part, the FCO said.
The three victims this year are understood to include Scottish teenager Ian Knox, 19, of Glasgow, who reportedly fell from an apartment in the party resort of Kavos, Corfu in June, and Charlotte Faris, 23, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, who died in in Magaluf, Majorca, in May.
The FCO has joined forces with British travel association, ABTA, to launch a campaign to help prevent young people from having accidents on balconies at popular holiday resorts.
Paul Abrey, Consul in the Balearics, said: “We’ve already seen some tragic cases this summer which have had devastating consequences for the individuals and families concerned.
“This year, there’s been a particular spike early on in the holiday season, with figures already matching last year’s.
“Some people have fallen while climbing to a friend’s apartment, others have simply lost their footing after a few too many drinks and a few have deliberately jumped off, aiming for the pool below.
“It should go without saying these practices are extremely dangerous and can cost them their life or leave them permanently disabled.
“Many young people also arrive without travel insurance. The FCO can’t pay medical bills and holidaymakers may end up paying out thousands for medical bills and flights home.”
ABTA predicts that about three million young holidaymakers will head abroad this summer, with Spain, Greece and Turkey among the favourite destinations.
As part of the campaign, young people travelling to resorts will be handed leaflets that include the story of Jake Evans, from Liverpool, who narrowly survived a fall from a seventh floor balcony last year after drinking alcohol.
The 18-year-old said: “I was on a balcony with a couple of friends and I asked a guy off the balcony below to throw me a lighter. I was quite drunk, I tried to grab the lighter and I went over head-first.”
The teenager suffered a fractured skull. Both his eyelids were split open, his face was cut and his teeth smashed through his lip. He also snapped his wrist and fingers, suffered leg damage and seriously injured his back.
“It just makes me think how lucky I am to be alive,” he said.
Abta spokeswoman Gillian Edwards added: “Jake is one of the lucky ones, because we have had three deaths so far this year.
“Most have involved alcohol, or even drugs, and it’s really tragic because it’s simply down to behaviour on the balconies. ”
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