Swede plummets to death in balcony collapse

A man from Mariefred, central Sweden, has died after the balcony where he was standing with a friend gave way early on Sunday morning.

“A 52-year-old man has died. The woman is injured, she is being treated in hospital,” said Anette Wilhelmsson of the Södermanland county police to daily Aftonbladet.

A neighbour told the paper how the man had been standing on the balcony with a female friend, when it suddenly gave way and plummeted to the ground.

The police were unwilling to disclose any particulars to the paper regarding the fall but the neighbour said that he has been worried about the state of the balconies for a long time.

“Some of the railings aren’t even stuck to the wall and if you lean on them without knowing you can fall out,” the neighbour said to the paper.

According to the Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästföreningen) the accident proves the need for new regulations of how new balconies are controlled.

“It just increases the impression that stricter rules should be put in place when it comes to checking the state of balconies,” said P-G Nyström, a union lawyer, told news agency TT.

The union was discussing the question already in 2010, when they wrote to National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) demanding recurring controls of balconies.

”This is not a new question, it has happened before that balconies collapse. It happened in Skellefteå, two-three years ago. At that point we wrote to the agency. We made a comparison to the rules that apply for lifts and ventilation, which have rules that involve recurring inspections,“ Nyström said.

However, the agency ruled that the need to inspect lifts and ventilations systems differed on many counts from that of balconies, and the suggestion was rejected.

A report has been filed and police have now started an investigation into the balcony collapse but so far no one is under suspicion for causing the man’s death and the injuries sustained by the woman.

“This is what we must investigate, if someone has neglected to do something,” said Wilhelmsson to Aftonbladet.

Residents in the building are still shocked by what has happened.

“It is terrible,” the neighbour told the paper.

TT/Rebecca Martin


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