A school leaver has described watching a 17-year-old girl
plunge to her death at schoolies celebrations on the Gold
Shantelle Turner, from Narangba north of Brisbane, told
reporters she was in one of the towers at the Chevron
Renaissance in Surfers Paradise when she saw the girl fall
Ms Turner said she'd given a statement to police and what
she'd witnessed would stay with her forever.
"Everyone's really devastated. I didn't get to sleep at all
last night. I've never seen anyone die before."
Schoolies organisers are set to address the media on the Gold
Coast at 8.30am (AEST), and police will hold a press
conference at 9am (AEST) in Brisbane.
Police have said the death is not considered suspicious, and
the girl's parents have been notified.
The girl fell at 9.30pm (AEST) on Thursday, from somewhere
above the 20th storey of one of the towers.
Inspector Pat Swindells said the death was an utter tragedy
and officers are still trying to determine the circumstances.
"Investigations are continuing and we'll find out the truth
in due course," he told the ABC.
"This is a very, very tragic incident that has occurred
during what has been a very good week (at schoolies)."
It's been reported the girl fell onto the 5th floor pool
deck, close to where two other schoolies were sitting.
Another school leaver said he'd also witnessed the incident.
"I just watched her fall," schoolie Seb Georgio said. "I
didn't want to watch."
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 six
balcony deaths on the coast in recent times.
But he said the council would need to understand the
circumstances of the girl's death before considering options
like balcony bans for schoolies.
Earlier this week, the chaplaincy group Red Frogs, which
supports schoolies, told AAP recent education campaigns had
focused on the dangers of larking on high-rise balconies.
The group's national director Mark Gourley said young people
were urged not to egg each other on to do things that could
cost them their lives.
One school leaver, Alana from Brisbane, told AAP there'd be a
mass exodus as schoolies returned home in shock.
"Everyone wants to go home now. There's no party atmosphere