3 Jul 2013

Holidaymakers Urged To Take Care This Summer

A new joint campaign by ABTA and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office warning holidaymakers of the dangers of balconies was launched following a number of recent incidents in the resorts of Sunny Beach and Majorca. One British national has died and several more young tourists have been injured this month following falls from balconies during their holiday according to the latest statistics. These latest incidents have taken the number of reported cases this summer to seven. There were 14 incidents reported last year with many involving young people and alcohol.


"Last year we had to deal with several deaths and injuries from balcony falls, and unfortunately we are already experiencing balcony accidents again. Our staff have seen the devastating effects a momentary lapse in judgement can have on the victim and their family and we are working hard to ensure people understand the risks" said Jon O'Shaughnessy, British Consul in Sofia.

He continued by adding "Accidents can and do happen and climbing from balcony to balcony, jumping off them or drinking excessively while on one only increases your chances of something going wrong. All too often these incidents cost lives but the risks can be avoided if you take a moment to just think about the possible consequences."
 
British holidaymaker Jake Evans, 18, from Liverpool and his family were given a harsh reminder of just how wrong this can go last year when he shared his story of falling seven floors after slipping over the edge of his balcony while trying to reach for something on the balcony below during his short break holiday in Magaluf.

ABTA predicts around 3 million young holidaymakers will head overseas this summer and young people travelling out to resorts will be handed leaflets which include the story of Jake Evans. Jake also tells his story in this emotional video: (Please be aware this video contains images of serious injury so may not be suitable for all viewers)


Nikki White, ABTA Head of Destinations and Sustainability said “Each year too many young people are permanently injured or worse because they’ve tried to climb over or dive off their hotel balcony. ABTA, the Foreign Office and tourist authorities are all working together to help raise awareness of the dangers and prevent these incidents. The after-effects are often made even worse through holidaymakers travelling uninsured and parents having to raise large amounts of money to get their children home. Our advice aims to help holidaymakers to use their balconies safely and prevent more of these tragic and avoidable incidents.”

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 whilst 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 back to the UK.”

Please take care of yourselves, your friends and your family this summer and drink responsibility.

To view the ABTA/Foreign Office Leaflet "Booze and Balconies Don’t Mix" please click here. (Please be aware this leaflet contains an image of serious injury so may not be suitable for all readers)