By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Balearic government last week tried to play down this summer's rise in balcony fall deaths and injuries by claiming that, considering the vast number of visitors who come here every year, some accidents “were inevitable”.

However, the fact that at least four young people, including a British teenager have died this summer and three tourists are currently recovering from falls in local hospitals, one is believed to be in a coma, has attracted the interest of the foreign media, especially in Germany, France and the UK.

In the space of just 12 hours on Sunday, three tourists plummeted from hotel and apartment balconies and one is a 20-year-old Briton who is in a critical condition.

THREEFOLD RISE OF CASES
According to emergency service sources, the number of balcony-related injuries has increased threefold this year and there are calls from the emergency services and the hotel sector for some kind of action to be taken because this year, “balconing” has become a craze with many of the “jumpers” then posting their potentially life threatening feats on YouTube, such as the one we have taken stills of. In the video you can see and hear his friends cheering him on up on the balcony and then giving him a rousing round of applause as he hits the water - fortunately safely in this case but just a few feet away from the concrete terrace of startled fellow holiday makers.

But, the burning question is what can be done to stop this growing craze.
Drugs and alcohol are often involved and hoteliers can not be expected to “police” their guests.
OBVIOUSLY NOT A GOOD IDEA “It's been shown that when all these cases happened, they were the result of people having consumed too much alcohol or other substances,” said Sebastián Darder from a hotel managers association.

The practice is not new, but in the words of one hotel receptionist, “this year looks like a plague”. “Can't these people see that it is obviously not a sensible idea to throw yourself off a balcony,” he added.
Some hotels have tried to curb the craze by putting up screens to block potential leaping points.
Other hotel managers said they employ a zero tolerance approach to the stunts. “We are involved in a campaign against loutishness, which is supported by the tourist authorities,” Joan Espinosa, from a Majorca hoteliers' association, said. Apparently some hotels are kicking their guests out if caught balconing because it also poses a threat to fellow guests.

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