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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Holiday firm’s pledge after Carlisle teenager's death

A holiday firm has said it will act after a coroner called for a safety review at an apartment block in Bulgaria where a Carlisle teenager died in a tragic accident.

Holiday balcony photo
Tom McNeill fell to his death from the balcony

Tom McNeill, 17, from Lowry Hill in Carlisle, died after falling last year from a third-floor balcony at Sunny Fort apartments in the Black Sea Resort Sunny Beach.

At the time he was staying overnight with a group of friends who had been given a room in the apartments.

An inquest this week heard that the apartment’s waist-high balcony, 40ft above the ground, was around 2.5 to 3ft wide wide, but it had no safety rail of any kind.

The inquest heard speculation that the teenager may have lain on the balcony to catch the morning sun after a night out and probably rolled over after falling asleep.

In a statement, Balkan Holidays, which provided the apartment to the group of friends who were staying there, said: “Balkan Holidays deeply regret the tragic death of Tom McNeill on July 24, 2011, and our thoughts remain with the family. The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to us.

“We have spoken to our accommodation provider to ensure that the facilities are checked and that a safe environment is ensured for our holidaymakers at all times.”

North Cumbria coroner David Roberts, who ruled that Tom died accidentally, urged the company to review safety, perhaps installing a safety rail on the balcony, to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

The company yesterday did not say whether or not a safety rail had yet been installed.

Tom’s family said he was as perfect a teenager and son as anybody could wish for.

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