Sussex

Airbnb denies liability over Brighton balcony collapse

Alex Browning Image copyright Anthony Gold solicitors
Image caption Alex Browning suffered head and facial injuries, a broken wrist and damage to his groin

Airbnb has denied liability after four people suffered serious injuries at a Brighton flat rented through the site.

The first floor balcony of the flat collapsed in July, causing them to fall two storeys.

The group's solicitor said the website has refused requests to provide financial assistance.

Airbnb said: "As soon as we were aware of the incident, we reached out to the guest to provide support."

Airbnb is an accommodation listing website, which allows people to rent out their properties to others.

"We provide all hosts in the UK with Host Protection Insurance which provides insurance coverage for up to $1 million in the rare event of an injury", the website said.

But one of the victims, Jess Paterson, questioned Airbnb's statement: "It's like they don't care. They haven't provided us with anything: acknowledgement, apology, financial support for our ongoing needs"

"I sometimes get a bit depressed thinking of what's happened and what might have happened," she added.

Image copyright EDDIE MITCHELL
Image caption Some of the injured plunged into the basement below

The flat had been rented for a 30th birthday celebration and guests at the party used the balcony throughout the night.

It collapsed just before midnight, with three of the four injured falling two storeys to basement level.

The fourth fell to street level and was impaled through the torso, narrowly missing his vital organs.

All four required emergency surgery.

Image copyright Anthony Gold solicitors
Image caption Claire Corfield required emergency surgery and suffered extensive facial injuries

Since the accident one of the victims has been unable to work, and two of them had to cancel their wedding and honeymoon.

Airbnb said safety is its "number one priority" and that problems like this are "incredibly rare", but it refused to comment further on the basis that this is an ongoing case.

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