Surf club barman dies after falling from Surfers balcony
A YOUNG surf club barman has plunged to his death from a Surfers Paradise high-rise just days before the tourist hub is inundated with partying Schoolies.
The tragedy has prompted a plea from the Gold Coast's top cop for teenagers to take care during the looming Schoolies celebrations.
The man, identified as 22-year-old New Zealander Liam Kearns, fell from the 15th floor of the Breakers North building about 12.30am yesterday.
Police have described his death as an accident and are investigating whether he may have been skylarking as they prepare a report for the Coroner.
Originally from Christchurch, Mr Kearns is believed to have recently moved to the Gold Coast from NZ and landed a job as a bartender at the Northcliffe Surf Club in Surfers Paradise about six weeks ago.
Surf club president Dave Shields said: "It's a terrible tragedy.
"Liam had only been with us a short time but was a nice young guy and a valued member of our team."
NSW teenager Hamish Bidgood fell to his death from the Surf Regency apartment tower in Surfers Paradise during last year's Schoolies while high on nitric oxide inhaled from cream whipping cannisters.
His grieving father later called for balconies to be blocked off during Schoolies.
In 2012 a Brisbane girl, 17, fell to her death, while a 17-year-old boy suffered a fractured pelvis after falling two floors in 2016.
With an estimated 18,000 teenagers hitting Surfers Paradise for Schoolies this weekend, South Eastern region police Assistant Commissioner Brian Wilkins urged the young revellers to take care on balconies.
"The last thing police want to see during Schoolies is a death by misadventure because of some stupid behaviour on a balcony," he said.
"The dangers of skylarking on balconies or jumping between them can't be overstated and we've seen a number of deaths over the years, both Schoolies and non-Schoolies related.
"We want kids to go home safely to their families so they need to look after themselves and their mates."
The Beachcomber Resort in Surfers locked balconies during Schoolies in 2013.
"You've got 17-year-old kids drunk and partying on the balconies and it's a recipe for disaster,'' the-then building manager Greg Kafritsas said at the time.