British man lives after falling 15 floors
Tom Stilwell fell from his neighbour’s balcony in his apartment block in Auckland at 2 p.m. yesterday, reports said.
He was trying to lower himself onto his balcony, which was directly below his neighbour’s, when he fell, police said.
His friends said that he had bone fractures and internal injuries, but was “fine” and “a very lucky man”.
He was awake and laughing today, but had no recollection of what happened, his friends told New Zealand newsgroup Fairfax Media.
“He looks all right,” his flatmate, Beth Goodwin, said. “It’s more internal injuries. He’s broken some bones in his ribs and neck but they’re not important bones.”
In a statement, New Zealand police said: “It appears that the man was locked out of his 14th floor apartment. He fell while attempting to climb down the outside of the building from a 15th floor apartment directly above his, in an effort to gain access via his balcony.”
There were “no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fall”, the statement added.
The 20-year-old is said to be in New Zealand on a working holiday.
Stilwell discovered he was locked out of his flat early yesterday, and asked a neighbour if he could climb down from her balcony into his flat, his friends said.
The neighbour, Geraldine Bautista, told the New Zealand Herald that Stilwell was “a little tipsy” but polite.
“I wasn’t scared of him — he just requested ‘Can you please let me jump off from the balcony? I will not bother you, just let me use your balcony.'”
“I never thought he would really do that. In my mind I thought ‘Okay, I’ll just let you see that it’s really impossible. I didn’t think he’d jump, because it’s really scary.”
However, he quickly pulled himself over the balcony railing before she could stop him, she said.
“I thought I was dreaming… it happened within seconds,” she said. “I couldn’t even scream for help.”
Stilwell’s fall was broken by the roof of an adjacent building, reportedly some 13 floors below.
He was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but was in a satisfactory condition today, a hospital spokesperson said. (BBC)
Stilwell fell from this building block, Volt Apartments in Auckland.