An Oxford student remains in a critical condition following a 25ft fall from the balcony of his apartment while on holiday in Lloret de Mar, a town on the Costa Brava coastline in Spain.
Luke Parry, a second year engineering student at Jesus, sustained serious head injuries after misjudging the jump between the two adjacent balconies of his holiday apartment, at around 4AM on Monday 2nd April.
He and his family remain in Spain and he has been forced to rusticate. His identical twin brother, Ellis, a student at St John’s who is also studying Engineering, has also rusticated. Though he has made ‘miraculous progress’, the outlook is still uncertain.
His mother posted a message on Sunday saying, ‘They have taken Luke out of a coma and now he is just very heavily sedated. He is still stable and we are hoping that they will start reducing the sedation over the next few days.’
Parry was on his third day of holiday on a sports tour with fellow students in Spain when the accident took place. According to friends, he had been trying to get back into his own room after being locked out of his apartment.
A spokesman for the Mossos d’Escuadra, the regional Catalan police force, said, ‘We were called at 4am to reports that a British student had fallen from a second storey balcony at the Bolero Park apartments.
“Witnesses said he had been trying to jump from one balcony to another, misjudged the jump and fell to the floor.’
The spokesman continued, “He was then taken to hospital by ambulance. We believe he had been drinking before the incident.’
Fellow students at the scene said that Parry had been back for some time, and was sober when he fell, also adding that stepping between the balconies was something ‘everyone was doing’.
Parry’s brother has been keeping friends and family updated on his condition on a public Facebook group called ‘Get better soon Luke’.
After being placed in an induced coma, Parry had to undergo emergency brain surgery on Sunday 8th April.
He reported that the surgeon said, “We have won the battle but not the war.”
The Facebook page has been flooded by messages from well wishers. One friend, Hen Mills, posted, “Got everything crossed for you Luke, keep going. Thinking of you and your family”. Another said that Parry and his family were “in our thoughts everyday”.
Some messages have criticised the press coverage of the accident. One family member pointed out that it was “full of factual errors and grossly inaccurate”.
A Daily Mail article attributed the suggestion that Parry was jumping as part of a game to the Catalan police, who are said to have described the accident as a case of ‘balconing’, a craze in which holidaymakers jump from one hotel balcony to another, or into a hotel pool from a balcony.
One Jesus student said, “The Daily Mail article is horrible. Luke did not ‘jump’.” He explained that the balconies were a “step” apart and that Luke had just slipped. The student added,“99% of the time it would not have been an issue.”
Ashley Gower, the managing director of Sport Travel International, the company which organized the festival Parry and his friends were attending said many were “incensed” at the Daily Mail article.
Sports Travel International specialises in organising sports tours for clubs, schools and universities as well as ‘SportsParty’ festivals on the Spanish Costa Brava since the early 1990’s.
Gower said, “As a company we were very concerned to hear of the tragic accident.” After learning the news, he flew out to Spain and met with Parry’s family.
Gower explained, “We have been told that Luke spent the evening with his colleagues in the apartments and then went out with friends.’
“From what we understand,” he continued, “Luke was attempting to climb from the next door balcony back to his own when he fell.”
Gower confirmed that there were two witnesses to the incident on the balcony.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Luke and his family at this very distressing time and we are doing everything we practically can to assist them,” Gower said.
A spokesperson for the university said: ‘The thoughts of Luke’s many friends and acquaintances at Oxford are with him at this time.’