In 2011, eight British holidaymakers were killed or seriously hurt by falling from balconies in the Balearics. In 2012, there were 14 cases worldwide of Britons falling, six of them fatal. This year, halfway through the holiday season, there have already been 14 reported incidents in the Balearics alone (and 17 worldwide), mostly involving 18 to 35-year-old men.
Some victims have fallen because they misjudged the height of balcony walls, or lost their footing. Others have dropped while climbing to their apartment via the balcony, or clambering across balconies to visit a friend staying in the next room.
But there’s also a new word in Spain being used to describe a growing trend: “balconing”, the daredevil act of jumping between balconies or from a hotel-room balcony into the swimming pool below.
I asked one man who had posted a video on YouTube showing him jumping from a first-floor balcony into the central hotel pool why he had done it. “Other than being on a lads’ holiday and probably still under the influence it was nothing more than adrenaline-searching,” he said.
This exhibitionist pleasure plays out again on social media where people have an even wider peer group to perform to.
“I did the jump just for the thrill,” said a twentysomething man who had posted online a video showing him leaping from a balcony into a hotel pool. He filmed it especially for YouTube, he said, sending me links to videos of similar stunts he’d done.
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