Magaluf: Safety changes after Rhoose teen's fall death

By Nicola Smith
BBC News

Published
Media caption,
Tom Channon's mother says she is "proud" the safety checks will be in her son's name

The family of a teenager who died after falling at a resort in Magaluf have said they are "proud" safety changes will be introduced there in his name.

Thomas Channon, 18, was celebrating his A-levels when he fell seven floors over a knee-high wall in 2018.

After campaigning by his family, a scheme to ensure actions are taken in the event of a fatality will be piloted in the Balearic Islands next summer.

The Foreign Office said after this it would be run in other resorts.

The 18-year-old, from Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan, had saved up for two years to go away with his friends to Majorca when they finished their A-levels.

Image source, Wales news service
Image caption,
Thomas Channon, 18, was on holiday with friends after finishing his A-level exams

But while Mr Channon was in Magaluf on the island, he fell 70ft (21.3m) at the Eden Roc complex.

An inquest in 2019 heard Mr Channon was the third holidaymaker to die at the resort in a year.

The coroner found that "simple steps" to erect a fence following his death, would have "in all probability" prevented Mr Channon dying there too.

'Absolutely nothing done to make that area safe'

Image caption,
John and Ceri Channon have campaigned for safety changes

The wall was made safer after Tom's parents, John and Ceri Channon, campaigned for the work to be carried out.

They believe improvements were not made sooner because of a lack of communication between authorities on the island.

Mr Channon said that the "biggest shock of all" upon arrival was finding out "perhaps things hadn't been done that you might've expected would've been done".

"On the Majorcan side, quite clearly, there had been an accident only five weeks previously," he said.

"But absolutely nothing had been done to make that area safe."

What is Tom's Check?

  • Ensure that British Consulate staff meet with the relevant local authority and request they carry out a site visit and address safety concerns
  • Request a meeting with police for consulate staff and families, to understand the police investigation and any safety concerns
  • Agree a plan with the family to identify where the consulate will look to take action

Tom's Check is one part of a new training programme for British consulate staff, which also looks at improving holidaymakers' safety and the way bereaved families are supported.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it will test the measures and make adjustments in the Balearics in summer 2022, before it's introduced in other resorts.

Mr Channon said it would also give staff advice on "improving their practices in how to understand families who've been suddenly bereaved in the way in which we were, and to try and deal, maybe, with a bit more sensitivity, a bit more understanding".

"If any of that can help to save just one single life, that clearly will be something that we can say was in Tom's memory," he said.

Mrs Channon said she felt "proud" the scheme will be in her son's name and it would be "what he would want us to do".

'There's always that one person missing'

Image caption,
The college where Tom studied for his A-Levels has named a lecture room in his honour

The 18-year-old's sixth form in Cardiff, St. David's Catholic Sixth Form College, has dedicated a garden in his memory.

The college, which also named a lecture room in his honour, has been helping the Channon family to develop a campaign to educate students from across Wales on how to stay safe abroad.

Mrs Channon, who has two other sons, said: "There's always that one person missing.

"We've always said we're always five and we are. I always think of Tom in the present, never in the past, but you're living a life you never imagined.

"It's just finding a way to push on, in a way that would make him proud."

Image caption,
Tom is remembered in a memorial garden at St David's Catholic Sixth Form College

The family's local MP paid tribute to them in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Vale of Glamorgan MP, Alun Cairns, said the family had "worked tirelessly with the Foreign Office, with the Minister for Europe, with the Embassy in Spain, to enhance the various authorities' response to tragic accidents overseas and have resulted in Tom's check."

Foreign Office minister, Amanda Milling MP, said following Tom's "really, really sad death", consular officials in Spain "held meetings with local authorities to understand the procedural investigations that have taken place, to ask whether they can do more for the family".

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said in a statement its staff had supported the Channon family following the death in Majorca.

"We continue to work with Tom's parents to ensure families have access to the information they need, and build on our work in preventing tragic accidents from happening in the future."

More on this story