Schoolies on balconies in Surfers Paradise, the day after a young man lost his life. Photo: Tali Eley
Schoolies on balconies in Surfers Paradise, the day after a young man lost his life. Photo: Tali Eley

Balconies stay open at Schoolies after deadly fall

SCHOOLIES organisers have gone silent in the wake of a fatal balcony fall during celebrations on the Gold Coast.

Many accommodation providers declined to comment yesterday on whether they were considering barring the use of balconies during next year's event.

Chair of the Gold Coast Schoolies Advisory Group Mark Reaburn would not be drawn on the effect the death would have on future Schoolies events or what it would mean for students planning to attend in 2019 with a spokesman citing the ongoing police investigation.

Balconies in Surfers Paradise were largely empty a day after a young man lost his life. Photo: Talisa Eley
Balconies in Surfers Paradise were largely empty a day after a young man lost his life. Photo: Talisa Eley

A Schoolies Safety Response spokesman said the group is yet to consider balcony use for the 2019 event, with planning to begin in two weeks.

Hotel operators have continued to allow schoolies to use their balconies after the death of a Sydney schoolboy who fell from the Surf Regency Holiday Apartments in the early hours of Thursday.

However, the outdoor areas were largely bare around Surfers Paradise yesterday as most schoolies opted to stay inside, many still reeling from the death of one of their own.

Two deaths in less than a decade have marred Gold Coast celebrations along with a number of close-calls and dangerous stunts, many caught on camera.

In 2012 a Brisbane girl, 17, fell to her death, while a 17-year-old boy suffered a fractured pelvis after falling two floors in 2016.

Previous years have also seen problems with teenagers balcony hopping between rooms and last month, during Queensland Schoolies week, footage emerged of a young man climbing over a balcony ledge in a dangerous stunt posted to social media.

Hamish Bidgood. Source: Facebook
Hamish Bidgood. Source: Facebook

Olympus Apartments' Gavin Meade said their balconies will remain open, and credited stern briefings to young guests for their good record.

"I've been here for three Schoolies now and we've never had a problem, we're happy for them to use the balconies but there's penalties if they break the rules," he said.

"They're read the Riot Act when they check-in and there's an onsite manager and security around until about 2am so we keep an eye on them."

Rules issued by Schoolies.com and signed by hotel guests agree to restrictions on the number of people on balconies, as well as banning climbing or hanging off them.

“No climbing over or hanging from balconies or windows”. Rules issued by Schoolies.com which are signed by hotel guests. Photo: Talisa Eley
“No climbing over or hanging from balconies or windows”. Rules issued by Schoolies.com which are signed by hotel guests. Photo: Talisa Eley

Mr Meade said Schoolies caught playing up would be evicted on the spot.

While many schoolies are expected to fly home this weekend, some are expected to stay on the Coast and extend their celebrations.