Booze and balconies don’t mix, say Foreign Office

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DON’T TRY THIS ON HOLIDAY: If this doesn’t appear dangerous to you, it might be best to stay at home.

THE FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (FCO) and the Travel Association (ABTA) have renewed their campaign for British holidaymakers to “use their balconies safely”, after a recent flurry of catastrophes left several people in hospital.

Three Brits were killed after plummeting from Spanish balconies in 2015, as the baffling craze of ‘balconing’, which involves leaping into a swimming pool from a hotel room, or climbing between balconies, shows no sign of abating.

EWN reported on serious spinal injuries sustained by a 34-year-old man who slammed into the bottom of a swimming pool in Ibiza after jumping from a third floor balcony in Ibiza earlier this month, leading ABTA and the FCO to increase efforts warning of “the need for exercising caution on balconies.”

Many such incidents involve young people and alcohol or drugs, a heady mix which can lead to irresponsible behaviour, so the campaign has produced a series of posters for resorts popular with youthful travellers.

Nikki White, ABTA’s Director of Destinations and Sustainability, said: “As we head into the peak summer season, we are again urging holidaymakers to think about the potential risks of balconies. We see too many people badly injured or much worse because they’ve tried to climb over, jump or dive from their hotel balcony. A moment of thoughtlessness 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 use their balconies sensibly and safely, as do millions of hotel guests around the world.”

Will Middleton, FCO Consular Director for Southern Europe, said: “We have already seen a number of very serious injuries caused by balcony falls this summer. We really do urge people to avoid taking risks around balconies, particularly if you have been drinking. A momentary lapse of judgement can lead to a lifetime of consequences. So think balcony safety, look out for friends and avoid doing anything that might cost a life.”

The two organisations also recommend the following when it comes to using balconies safely:

  • 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.

The phenomenon appears largely restricted to hotels located on islands, although the campaign makes no attempt to explain why this might be.

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