Published June 17, 2013
WELLINGTON (AFP) – A British man who miraculously survived a fall from a 15th-storey balcony in New Zealand while drunkenly trying to break into his apartment has labelled himself an "idiot".
Tom Stilwell, 20, plummeted from the balcony in his Auckland apartment block in the early hours of Sunday morning, suffering broken bones and cuts but leaving experts amazed that he was still alive.
Stilwell had arrived home to find himself locked out of his 14th-storey apartment and decided to try to clamber down to his balcony from a neighbour's property one floor above.
Instead he slipped as the horrified neighbour looked on, plunging 13 floors before an adjacent roof broke his fall.
Stilwell's flatmate Dave Thomas said the 20-year-old from Brighton, who is in New Zealand on a working holiday, was unable to talk when he awoke at Auckland Central Hospital because he had tubes down his throat.
"After a nurse explained to him about what had happened, he wrote on his little squiggly board 'what an idiot'," Thomas told the New Zealand Herald.
He said Stilwell was now "back to his old jokey self" but could remember nothing about his escapade.
The hospital said Stilwell had been moved out of its intensive care ward and was expected to make a full recovery.