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Campaign highlights balcony dangers

Three young people have been killed in balcony falls while on holiday this year while ten others have been seriously injured.

The figures released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and ABTA (The Travel Association) form part of a campaign to help prevent young people from having accidents on balconies at popular holiday resorts.

In April, 28-year-old British tourist Benjamin Harper, from Twickenham, south-west London, fell to his death at the four-star Sol Antillas hotel in Magaluf, Majorca. It is believed that the roofer had gone out on to the balcony for a cigarette before leaning over and falling to his death while on a stag do.

A month later British tourist Charlotte Faris, 23, also plunged to her death during the early hours of the morning in Magaluf. The holidaymaker from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, had checked into the Teix Hotel just hours earlier, according to reports.

In Majorca and Ibiza there have been nine cases this year - already matching figures for 2011 - despite it only being half way through the season, and FCO spokesman said. Most incidents have involved people aged between 18 and 35 with alcohol often playing a part, he added.

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 years. 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."

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. "

Young people travelling out to resorts will be handed leaflets which include the story of Jake Evans, 18, from Liverpool, who narrowly survived a fall from a seventh floor balcony last year after a few too many drinks, the FCO spokesman said. Mr Evans also tells his story in a video, which can be viewed on the FCO's website and on YouTube, in an attempt to get young people to think twice before they engage in risky behaviours.

Mr Evans told ITV1's Daybreak that he was lucky to be alive after receiving multiple injuries during his fall and he tried to grab a lighter that was thrown to him and went head-first off a balcony last year. He warned people to drink responsibly and added that his mother and grandmother did not think he would make it home alive.

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