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Schoolies death: "very tragic"

Posted by: 4bc.com.au | 23 November, 2012 - 6:34 AM

Chairman of the Gold Coast Schoolies Advisory Group Mark Raeburn joins Peter and Mary from 4BC Breakfast.

The teenage girl who fell to her death from the balcony of a Gold Coast high-rise building was alone at the time, police say.

The 17-year-old, who was taking part in schoolies celebrations, was staying on the 26th floor of the Chevron Renaissance apartment tower with a friend.

But police say she was alone before she fell into a garden area on the fifth floor about 9.30pm (AEST) on Thursday night. She could not be revived.

An army of counsellors has been mobilised to help school leavers deal with the death, but many have already headed home to the support of their families.

Assistant Commissioner Graham Rynders told reporters he met the girl's parents on Friday morning, and they were deeply traumatised.

"It's been a very tragic night for all of us and has put a dark cloud over what has been a very successful schoolies event," he told reporters.

Mr Rynders said the girl, who has not been named, was not skylarking before she fell.

Asked if anything could have been done to prevent the tragedy, he said: "In this case, absolutely not."

Schoolie Shantelle Turner earlier told how she saw the girl fall from her own apartment in the Chevron complex. She said the image would remain with her forever.

"Everyone's really devastated," she said.

"I didn't get to sleep at all last night. I've never seen anyone die before."

Police say there is nothing suspicious about the death and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

Chaplaincy group Red Frogs spent the night providing support and counselling to schoolies affected by the tragedy.

"There were literally hundreds of schoolies we were dealing with and we had over 100 Red Frog chaplains in operation around the building," spokesman Mark Gourlay told reporters on the Gold Coast.

"It's never good to lose a mate ... it really does knock you for six."

Most Queensland schoolies were due to leave the Gold Coast on the weekend but many have already gone.

"Everyone wants to go home now. There's no party atmosphere any more," school leaver Alana, from Brisbane, told reporters.

The girl is the sixth person to die from a balcony fall on the Gold Coast in the past year, and on Monday a drunk schoolie made headlines when he was photographed taking a nap on the unfenced 11th floor ledge of a Gold Coast high rise.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate told the ABC the council would need to look at the issue of balcony access in light of the recent deaths.

But he said he wanted to know the circumstances of the latest death before any decisions were made.

The death of a Brisbane teenager who fell from a high-rise hotel balcony during schoolies celebrations has been described by police as "very, very tragic".

The 17-year-old girl, believed to be a schoolie, fell from the Chevron Renaissance tower on Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise about 9.30pm (AEST) on Thursday.

Detectives from Brisbane and the Gold Coast are investigating the incident but say it's too early to speculate about what led to the teenager's death.

They are preparing a report for the coroner, police said in a statement.

"Investigations are continuing and we'll find out the truth in due course," police inspector Pat Swindells told the ABC.

He said behaviour at schoolies has been exemplary.

"This week at schoolies has been a fantastic week," he said.

"This is a very, very tragic indecent that has occurred during what has been a very good week."

But he urged schoolies to take it easy when partying in high-rise buildings.

One witness told the ABC he saw the girl fall onto the hotel's pool deck.

"A girl fell off the balcony and (I) just watched her fall," schoolie Seb Georgio said.

"I didn't want to watch."

Rory, a barman across the road from the Chevron Renaissance, said hundreds of schoolies were standing outside the hotel following the incident.

"I saw 200 schoolies out the front of the building, two ambulance (crews), there were cops everywhere," he told AAP.

The girl is the sixth person to die from a balcony fall on the Gold Coast in the past year.

On Monday, a photo of a drunk schoolie taking a nap on the unfenced 11th floor ledge of a Gold Coast high rise sparked renewed warnings.

Cameron Cox, 18, told media he was drunk at the time and climbed out a window for a thrill and some fresh air.

The prank ended his end of school celebrations, with the Hawaiian Holiday Apartments at Surfers Paradise telling AAP he'd been ordered to leave.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said the girl's death was heartbreaking.

"As the father of a year 12 school leaver, my heart goes out to the family and friends of this young woman," he said in a statement.

The premier said schoolies needed to take care and watch out for their friends' welfare.

Blog comments Your Say

  • I think they should lock all balcony doors and secure windows before schoolies events. To stop schoolies they would only go somewhere else There has always been a mad period when school graduates go mad.
    This is something that we've been hearing about a few times lately. Therefore I believe locking doors to save themselves is the way to go

    lyn peake Saturday 24 November, 2012 - 7:51 AM
  • They have released the name of this young girl. You know, these are one of those moments you want to turn back time and stop the tragedy happening. It is so heartbreaking, just so tragic

    Shooey Friday 23 November, 2012 - 3:07 PM
  • I am sorry for the parents and the parents from accidents over the past years. In my opinion Schoolies week should be banned. That young girl's life is over never to have a future.

    Cheryl Turner Friday 23 November, 2012 - 10:38 AM
  • kernel, are you saying the GCCC should outlaw Friday & Saturday & Sunday nights on the GC?

    James W Friday 23 November, 2012 - 10:21 AM
  • The goldcoast council should be ashamed of supporting a booze a thon and drug a thon event.

    kernel fudpucker Friday 23 November, 2012 - 9:54 AM
  • The 4th floor of high rises, should be made the limit for schoolies. Other wise ban all highrises from schoolies.

    Kernel fudpucker Friday 23 November, 2012 - 9:32 AM

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