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Middlesbrough balcony fall victim backs safety effort
8:00am Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
A NORTH-EAST woman who survived an 80ft plunge from a hotel balcony has backed a new campaign to raise awareness of holiday dangers.
Chantelle Serginson fell from floor six of her Magaluf hotel room veranda – suffering two brain haemorrhages, a break to her jaw and multiple leg fractures.
The 24-year-old is now giving her support to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office campaign to help prevent accidents on balconies at popular resorts.
According to Government statistics, three young people have been killed in balcony falls this year, with ten others seriously injured.
Most incidents have involved people aged between 18 and 35, with alcohol often playing a part.
Ms Serginson, who had aspirations to become a dancer before her fall, said: “When this happened to me, I had no idea it had happened to anyone before.
“I was very lucky to have survived – I think anything that can be done to tell people about the risks is a good thing.”
Ms Serginson, of Middlesbrough, believes she fell from the Majorca hotel balcony when she reached out to grab her bracelet as it fell.
She spent time in intensive care in Spain undergoing operations to have metal poles and pins inserted into her legs and hips, as well as metal plates in her jaw.
When she flew back to the UK, she spent a week at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, before being allowed home at the end of June.
She said: “Every day is hard work for me now. I can take a few steps with a walking frame – maybe walk someone into a room. But if I do that, the next day the pain is awful. But no pain, no gain.
“If something can be done to stop this happening to anyone else, it has to be a good idea.”
In partnership with tourism body the Abta, the Foreign Office is to produce a leaflet for young tourists.
Paul Abrey, consul for the British Government in the Balearics, said: “We have already seen some tragic cases this summer which have had devastating consequences for the individuals and families concerned.
“Some people have fallen while 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.”
Ms Serginson added: “I pray every day now. There are so many families who can’t say that prayer – they have lost someone. Just please be careful when you are on holiday.”