ABTA and the FCO urge holidaymakers to avoid taking risks on hotel balconies this summer, writes Jill Sayles.
New figures have revealed that ABTA Members reported 12 balcony accidents in 2017 with one British fatality and 11 seriously injured after falling or jumping from balconies while on holiday overseas.
However, the association believes the total number of balcony falls to be much higher, with nine balcony accidents reported in the media over the last three months, five of them resulting in fatalities. So far this year, two falls have been reported to ABTA, with both people seriously injured.
There have been two incidents reported in the media so far this month, a 20-year-old British holidaymaker died after falling 65ft from an apartment balcony in Magaluf and a 21-year-old British holidaymaker suffered injuries including a broken leg and a broken jaw after falling from his hotel balcony in the same destination.
With the summer holiday season underway, ABTA says the latest incidents highlight the need for exercising caution on balconies.
Many accidents occur due to holidaymakers taking risks, such as climbing from one balcony to another or jumping into the pool from their balcony, and after drinking alcohol. Young people are particularly at risk – with seven of the nine accidents reported in the media involving teenagers or those in their 20s.
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.”
Julia Longbottom, FCO consular director, said: “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. Whilst 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 provided the following tips on using balconies safely, which are available online, and as a leaflet or poster. They have also been sent to ABTA Members to distribute to their suppliers overseas:
- Never lean over, sit or climb on the balcony wall or railings
- Don’t try to pass items to someone on another balcony
- Don’t climb from one balcony to another
- Never stand on balcony furniture
- Never jump into the pool from your balcony
- Take extra care on balconies after drinking alcohol as your judgement may be affected.