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Holiday companies failing to make safety checks says father whose son died in hotel balcony plunge

The father of a man who was killed when he fell from a balcony in Magaluf, Majorca, has criticised the hotel for not implementing safety checks on balconies.

Paul Welch lost his 20-year-old son Gareth in 2007, after he leaned against railings on his balcony, which gave way plunging him four floors down.

A coroner found that Gareth had not been drinking, but that the hotel balcony railings were corroded.

His father Paul says that his tour operator Thomas Cook should have inspected the hotel and made safety checks to prevent accidents happening.

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Mr Welch said:

“There had not been a balcony inspection for five years – that came out at the inquest. If people had been doing their job, my son would be here now.”

Mr Welch also spoke of the three recent deaths in Magaluf hotels, involving young adults falling from balconies.

“You have not seen any improvements over the years. It makes me very angry. Lessons have not been learnt.

“I lost my son – but it could have been a young couple with three young children.

“I lost a 20-year-old son who in a couple of weeks’ time would have been 21. He had just qualified as an electrician – he had everything at his feet.

“There have been so many of these [accidents], it’s almost as if it has become acceptable – it is not.

”Big companies are sending people away and they advertise they are checking this and checking that – but exactly what are they checking?

“You are booking through a holiday company – they are sending you there. There should be an obligation to ensure they are sending you to a safe place.”

Gareth’s parents Paul and Jackie are now demanding that package holiday companies ensure that hotel standards are fit for purpose – and that health and safety checks are made to prevent any more deaths.

Paul stages an annual golf tournament in his son’s memory, with the proceeds going to breast cancer charities.

Dated: 15/05/2012

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