Tragedy sparks fresh calls for Schoolies overhaul
THE death of a Victorian teen who plunged to his death at Schoolies from the 42nd floor of a Surfers Paradise high-rise has reignited calls for the annual celebration to be stopped or shortened and balconies locked.
Charlie Scott, 18, of Montmorency in Melbourne, died when he fell from the Hilton Hotel tower in Surfers Paradise about 2.30am yesterday, after leaving a chilling Snapchat message simply saying: "Goodbye."
His death was the latest in a series of balcony tragedies at Schoolies in recent years.
Gold Coast Mayor and former Surfers Paradise hotelier Tom Tate has been one of those calling for Schoolies to be shortened to stop teens becoming "burnt out" from partying.
As shattered friends of Mr Scott paid tribute to "one of the best blokes you would meet", a Hilton unit owner said the latest tragedy showed that Schoolies could not continue in its present form.
"It's putting profits before people and kids are dying," he said.
Mr Scott's friends told how they frantically tried to call or message him after he left the Snapchat message, but it was too late.
"I got phone calls from friends at 3am telling me to get down to the Hilton," close friend George Validomos said.
"There were kids everywhere bawling their eyes out.
"He was one of the best blokes you would ever meet.
"He was someone you could have a laugh with.
"He was a great kid, very joyful, he was always willing to help people out.
"There is nothing but good we can say about him.
"He was always so positive. He was always willing to help people out.
"He was the last person to do this."
Charlie's death followed that of NSW teen Hamish Bidgood who fell from a Surfers high-rise at last year's Schoolies while high on "nangs" - nitrous oxide inhaled from whipping cream canisters.
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.
Police had warned school-leavers to be careful on balconies after New Zealand man Liam Kearns fell to his death from a Surfers high-rise only days before this year's Schoolies festival began.
Speaking at the scene of the Hilton tragedy yesterday, Brisbane State High school-leaver Madison Sweetnam said she would support balconies being locked during Schoolies.
"It takes away a bit of freedom but what's the price of freedom - someone seems to die almost every year," she said.
School-leavers last night held a minute's silence for Mr Scott on Cavill Ave.
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