'Balconing' claims more lives in the Balearics

Hoteliers take precautions but point out they cannot 'imprison' guests

A young foreign tourist is on vacation in the Balearics. He returns to his hotel room after a night of drinking and partying with his friends. Shortly after, the hotel staff call the emergency services, because the young man has been injured after trying to jump into the hotel swimming pool from his balcony. Luckily, he managed to land in the water, and only has light injuries. If he had not been so lucky, he could have ended up with permanent damage or could even have lost his life.

Despite warnings from hotels and authorities, the so-called practice of "balconing" has returned to the islands. It consists of drunk tourists jumping from balcony to balcony in their hotels, or jumping from their rooms into the swimming pool.

It's a highly dangerous practice, one that has already seen three tragic endings this summer.

The last case involved a 20-year-old Italian girl, who died after jumping from a fourth-floor balcony of a Palma hotel at the beginning of the month. Others have had better luck.

Last Friday, a 21-year-old foreign tourist was left seriously injured after jumping from the balcony of his hotel in Palma. He was only on the second floor, but the impact was enough to fracture his skull as well as breaking a number of other bones.

That same day, a 20-year-old British man broke his arm after jumping from his hotel room in Magaluf, in Mallorca.

So far this summer, three people have died from balconing. What's more, there have been more than 10 such incidents that have left a number of injuries, although on some occasions the falls have apparently been the result of someone slipping or losing their footing. The amount of cases is already greater than the number usually seen by this point in the summer, in particular in Mallorca and Ibiza.

At the beginning of the summer, the Balearic government promised to take action to prevent more injuries and deaths, but so far these have not been introduced.

Hoteliers in Ibiza say they have done all they can to adapt their buildings to British legislation, including higher railings on balconies. But, they say, they cannot "imprison their customers," and are calling for campaigns in other countries to warn tourists of the dangers.

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