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Scots student survives 30ft Thailand balcony fall

Romany Mitchell survived a 30ft fall from a balcony in Phuket, Thailand. Picture: Contributed

Romany Mitchell survived a 30ft fall from a balcony in Phuket, Thailand. Picture: Contributed

  • by KATE PICKLES
 

A GAP-YEAR student has cheated death after plunging 30ft from the balcony of a Thai hotel just days into her dream trip.

Romany Mitchell, 21, landed on the concrete pavement after falling from the third floor of the five-star Patong Eyes hotel in the resort of Phuket. She is understood to have escaped her ordeal with only broken bones.

Passers-by found the former George Watson’s College pupil lying injured in the street at 3am and called for an ambulance.

Doctors at the local hospital are said to have described her survival as “a miracle” as it follows a series of tragedies in Thailand.

Young travellers from the UK have been warned to take extra care on balconies after local media reports of seven deaths from balcony falls in the country this year.

Miss Mitchell traveled to Thailand after celebrating her graduation from Napier University on October 23.

She was taken to the local hospital in Patong after the accident and is now understood to be awaiting transfer back to Edinburgh as she continues her recovery.

Reports in Thailand said she had been drinking in a local bar before the fall and there are fears that her drink may have been spiked.

Concerns have also been voiced about safety standards in some local hotels following the recent deaths.

A police officer who investigated the death of an Australian tourist in the resort in 2011 said the railing on the balcony he fell from had been “too short” to prevent an adult from toppling over.

“It’s tall enough to stop a child from falling but too short for adults, especially Westerners,” Lieutenant Jakapong Lurn-on reportedly said, adding that Dean McKeon, 33, may have been sleepwalking.

In January, Lee Charie, 32, flew back to Britain with a section of his skull in his hand luggage after surviving a 22ft fall on his head.

He smashed the left side of his skull when he fell from the balcony on the island of Koh Tao in December last year.

The extra from The Only Way is Essex spent weeks in hospital before flying back to the UK for reconstructive surgery. It is still unknown whether he slipped off the hotel balcony or was pushed.

There are now calls for warnings to be put up at the airport for tourists arriving to be made aware of the high incidence of balcony falls.

A campaign was also launched this year by the Foreign Office and travel association Abta after figures showed there were 14 reported incidents of serious holiday falls by overseas Brits.

A Foreign Office spokesman advise anyone travelling to Thailand to check its website.

He said: “Our message to everyone is to behave responsibly when they are staying somewhere that has a balcony.

“Most incidents involve young people between the ages of 18 and 35 and whilst not always the case, alcohol often plays a part.” Dr Jean Turner, director of the Scotland Patients Association, said Miss Mitchell was “lucky to be alive”. She said: “She certainly is a miracle. There’s no way of falling, not even if you’re a stunt man, to have a soft landing, so she is very lucky if she fell on concrete. She could have damaged her spleen, in which case she would go downhill very quickly, or her kidneys.

“It’s a dreadful accident to have and I hope she makes a full recovery.”

The family of Miss Mitchell said they did not wish to comment at this stage.

 

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