With winter nearly in our rearview mirror, tourist season is approaching once more. Restaurants and mini golf courses are reopening, businesses are putting the finishing touches on new looks, and hotels are ready to welcome the first waves of guests to our shore. With that influx comes the likelihood that visitors will be tumbling again off the balconies of those hotels. It’s an unfortunate and dangerous annual trend we see year after year.
A glance at our news archives shows that we reported people plunging from balconies three times in 2012, three times in 2011 and four times in 2010. And those are just the incidents our journalists heard about and reported. Many of these falls were prompted by alcohol, drugs, attempts to dive from a balcony into a pool (an idiotic idea in itself) or just plain immaturity. And while many tumbles ended in only bruises and scrapes, others who fell were not so lucky, and what seemed innocent fun resulted in heartbreak.
The first major group of tourists will likely be college students on spring break, which begins at colleges across the nation this month. Coastal Carolina University students will be enjoying their weeklong break starting this coming weekend.
We realize those childish enough to attempt such stunts are unlikely to read our editorials reminding them that fighting gravity is a losing battle (though perhaps they could benefit from doing so). With that in mind, we urge others – hotel staff, visitors, passersby or public safety officials – to help prevent future tragedies. If you see somebody poised on a railing or hear a visitor boasting he’s going to jump, call 911 and do what you can to discourage such action. You might just save a life.
Let’s get that number back down to zero this year.