June 21, 2011
A 33-year-old man from Cincinnati, Ohio, died Sunday night after falling from a balcony at the Virginia Beach, Virginia, Oceanfront hotel where he was staying. His death follows the death of a toddler who, just two days earlier, also died after falling from an Oceanfront hotel balcony in Virginia Beach.
Just after 9 p.m., the man fell from a ninth-floor balcony at the Four Sails hotel at the 3300 block of Atlantic Avenue and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was staying at the hotel with his wife and three children.
Police spokesman Adam Bernstein told WTKR that foul play was not suspected in the death and that it hasn’t yet been determined whether the man jumped or fell from the balcony. He also told WAYTV that alcohol is “definitely a factor in this case.”
This death follows a similar Virginia Beach tragedy. On Friday, a two-year-old girl from Staunton, Virginia, fell five stories through the balcony railing at the Sandcastle Oceanfront Resort in Virginia Beach. The toddler slipped through a six-inch gap between the bars of the balcony railing and hit a canvas awning before landing on a patio outside a restaurant. She died the following morning at Norfolk General Hospital.
Newsleader.com reports that state building codes updated in 2009 state that balconies should allow no more than four inches between bars on a railing but that because this hotel was built in the ’60s it didn’t have to adhere to those codes.
Do you think this death could have been prevented had the hotel balconies been designed differently? Do you think a hotel should be held liable if a visitor falls from its balcony?