Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bulgaria: Another European Tourist, 18, Falls from Hotel Balcony, Dies

According to The Sofia Globe, a Dutch tourist, 18, died on June 30, after falling four floors from a hotel balcony in Bulgaria’s popular Black Sea summer resort of Sunny Beach.

This was the third incident involving hotel balconies at Sunny Beach in the past two weeks: On June 16, a 19-year-old tourist from the UK died after falling 10 floors from the balcony of his hotel room and a 22-year-old German tourist was reported on June 27 to be in coma after sustaining injuries following a  fall from the fourth floor.

The Dutch tourist had arrived on June 29 and checked in in a hotel room on the third floor. After an evening out to celebrate his birthday, he visited a room into which some of his friends had checked in and fell from its balcony.

COMMENT: What local and international media fail to emphasize is that the majority of these falls were NOT accidents. They invariably involve intoxicated youths, many away from home for the first time, who in their impaired state engaged in high-risk antics on hotel balconies in a sick form of bravado. 

Inasmuch as I actually keep data on all incidents addressed in my reports, my estimate is that throughout Europe, roughly 20 young tourists have either been killed or permanently disabled from a "game" often referred to in Spain as "balconing." 

Sadly, this is no game. It is real life that has involved so many grieving parents from burying their adult children well before their time.

Such incidents have become so frequent in Bulgaria that the British Foreign Office has issued a travel advisory to British holidaymakers to “take care on balconies in popular holiday hotspots."

Unfortunately, these "accidents" are no accidents.

In many developed nations hoteliers, innkeepers and resorts are often held to be liable in cases where management fails to prevent foreseeable events that pertain to life-safety.

In those countries that ignore life-safety hotel issues that may place guests at risk, it is safe to say that putting out travel warnings to be careful on balconies is obvious, even to an eight-year-old.

The only clear head that prevails when young adults as young as 18 travel abroad to beach resorts in the summer, knowing that they may do "stupid" things, are the parents of young adults.

Such parents should have candid and honest discussions with their adult children before going abroad, emphasizing what happens when youngsters become severely intoxicated and are pressured to engage in high-risk antics as a result of peer pressure.

For those parents who are conscientious and worried about the welfare of their young adult children, they should endeavor to ensure, assuming their offspring will drink to the excess, that they book rooms on the ground floor to reduce their risk of being killed or maimed while intoxicated.

Finally, all hoteliers, resorts and innkeepers who rent rooms to young adults should, if they have any concern about their guests at all, install physical barriers above the first floor to prevent guests from jumping from one balcony to another.

With June already upon us, I predict that we'll see many young adults maimed and killed this summer, simply because of peer pressure.

For the small percentage of parents who may read this posting and truly believe that all of these falls in recent years WERE accidental, we can only conclude that their sons and daughters have no business staying above the ground floor and should probably remain at home because of their immaturity.