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17 June 2013, 10:46
A man from West Sussex has survived plunging from the 15th floor of an apartment block in New Zealand.
Tom Stilwell, 20, from Burgess Hill near Brighton, fell while trying to balcony-hop from the flat above after finding himself locked out of his 14th-floor Auckland apartment in the early hours of yesterday morning after a night out with friends.
He is awake and talking in the city's hospital after suffering broken bones, grazes and internal injuries, AAP reported.
It is believed he fell 13 storeys from the Volt building in Queen Street before landing on the roof of a lower adjacent building two floors from the concrete road below, which may have saved his life.
Mr Stilwell fell after waking the woman living above him, Geraldine Bautista, and asking if he could climb from her balcony to his, one storey below, the New Zealand Herald reported.
She told the paper she took him outside, thinking he would change his mind once he saw that it was impossible, but he grabbed the railing instead.
"He never said anything... I grabbed his hand and then at that time... he fell down. I thought I was dreaming. It happened so fast," she told the paper.
A spokesman for Auckland City Hospital confirmed today that Mr Stilwell was in a stable condition in the Department of Critical Care.
He is believed to work for Auckland Transport in the city.
His flatmate, Dave Thomas, 22, told the New Zealand Herald that his friend had had a "fair bit to drink".
He said it was unusual behaviour for a man "normally the sensible one out of all of us".