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Geelong tourist killed in 'sleepwalk balcony plunge'

Date

Megan Levy

A hotel room at the C & N Hotel in Patong, Thailand.

A hotel room at the C & N Hotel in Patong, Thailand. Photo: www.cnhotelpatong.com

Thai police investigating the death of a Victorian man who is believed to have plunged off a balcony while sleepwalking say balcony railings at the hotel where the tragedy occurred were "too short", it has been reported.

Dean McKeon, from Drumcondra in Geelong, was visiting the popular Thailand holiday island of Phuket with five friends when he fell from his fourth floor room early on Saturday morning.

A security guard found the 33-year-old's body in a carpark outside the C&N Hotel in Patong at 6.40am on Saturday.

Lieutenant Jakapong Lurn-on told Phuket Wan, a tourist news website, that the balcony railings at the hotel were extremely short.

"It's tall enough to stop a child from falling but too short for adults, especially Westerners," he said.

Mr McKeon, who worked at Etihad Stadium in Docklands, had been in Thailand with a group of friends celebrating one of their birthdays.

Police who attended the accident scene told the man’s friends, who were not aware of what had happened until they received a knock on their door.

There are suggestions Mr McKeon had been sleepwalking at the time of his fall and that his body may have been at the carpark for up to two hours before it was discovered.

Ian Collins, CEO and managing director of Etihad Stadium, said Mr McKeon had been a valued member of staff for the past five years and would be sorely missed.

"He was a member of our facilities team that maintained our stadium," Mr Collins said.

"We are a pretty small staff of about 85. He was very well liked by everybody and he was a good hard worker and he will be sorely missed.

"We were shocked when we found out that he had had the accident, and had been killed as a result. It just seems such a sad thing for such a young guy. He was an obliging, resourceful individual.

"It’s a sad way to end a lovely boy’s life."

Phuket Wan said Mr McKeon was barefoot and wearing only a pair of shorts, with a mobile telephone in one pocket when he was found.

The C & N Hotel, a popular haunt for Australian tourists, is 200 metres from Patong Beach.

Mr McKeon's body is in Patong Hospital, but is expected to be taken to Songkhla for an autopsy.

His family hopes to bring him home as soon as possible.

The Geelong man was a live music fan and supported local bands in his home town.

His death is the latest in a string of deaths following falls from balconies in tourist destinations in Thailand.

"Resorts on Phuket, Pattaya and Samui sometimes have narrow stair steps and low head clearances because they are designed for Asians, not for larger Western tourists," Phuket Wan said.

With Paul Millar

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