• Spain's news in English
True cost of Spain's balcony-jumping craze revealed
A tourist leaping into a swimming pool. Screen grab: YouTube

True cost of Spain's balcony-jumping craze revealed

AFP · 23 Aug 2016, 12:50

Published: 23 Aug 2016 12:50 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The so-called "balconing" craze has taken off to such an extent in Spain's Balearic Islands that doctors at the Son Espases hospital in Palma de Majorca - a major trauma centre - decided to study the phenomenon.

"It's endemic," says Xavier Gonzalez, head of surgery at the hospital who participated in the study.   

"It seems that... it's like an initiation rite for some tourists, whose parents already came here when they were young."

The 2010-2015 study only covers patients who were treated in hospital and not those who died while "balconing" - a term that refers to people who throw themselves into pools or fall while trying to get to another balcony or simply leaning over.

A British tourist 'balconing' in Spain. 

Altogether, the hospital treated 46 patients during that time, more than 60 percent of whom were British, followed by Germans and then Spaniards, the study found.

Only one woman was involved, all the others were men, aged 24 on average.    

The fall itself was from an average height of eight metres (26 feet).    

Alcohol was involved almost every time, and in close to 40 percent of the cases, drugs also played a role.

Altogether, the craze has cost €1.5 million  ($1.7 million) in hospital fees, Gonzalez says, as patients can remain in intensive care for a long time, some ending up paraplegic.

It is unclear exactly how many people have died from "balconing", but Spanish media have reported more than a dozen deaths over the past five years.

'Hit every balcony on way down'

The craze also happens on Spain's northeastern Costa Brava, but it is most prevalent in the Balearic archipelago, which includes Magaluf and Ibiza among its famous resorts, Gonzalez says.

Further afield, Bulgaria has also been hit by "balconing."    

In a bid to curb the trend, authorities in the Balearic Islands have implemented measures - printing preventative leaflets and handing out fines to people caught trying to jump from balconies.

"As a precaution, when they see a group of young people arrive, hoteliers no longer put them on top floors but on the ground floor," adds Gonzalez.  

Britain has also tried to warn its nationals of the dangers of throwing themselves off balconies.

In 2012, the British foreign ministry published leaflets called "Booze and Balconies Don't Mix," using the story of Jake Evans from Liverpool.  

Story continues below…

Drunk, he fell from the seventh floor of his flat in Magaluf in 2011.    

"I hit every balcony on the way down, as they jutted out like steps," he was quoted as saying.

"I landed on a sun lounger which broke my fall and probably saved my life.  

"I fractured my skull, broke front teeth which pierced through my upper lip, snapped my right wrist and broke all the fingers on my right hand," he said.

"The accident has changed my life... I have recurring problems with my back and right wrist and doctors have told me I probably always will."

By Marianne Barriaux 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
jobs available