MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - An investigation continues into the death of a man who fell from a balcony in Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach police said 22-year-old Jacob Matthews, of Sumter, fell to his death from a high-rise balcony Saturday along Ocean Boulevard. Now, new details are surfacing about the moments leading up to the deadly incident, after Matthews and his mother checked into the resort.
“There was a note that he wanted to take some pictures and apparently she maybe wanted to lay down and take a nap. And she did lay down for a few minutes I think and take a short nap, and when she awoke he was not in the room,” said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge.
That’s when she discovered Matthews had fallen in what Edge describes as an accident.
“Apparently something he did that caused him to lose his balance, or maybe he was looking over and lost balance and fell,” said Edge.
Edge said incidents like this happen around two to three times a year, and the majority of deaths due to falling from balconies have been ruled accidental.
“It goes back to we put ourselves in the position that we don’t stop and think about what the consequences are, and unfortunately loss of life occurs when we do that,” said Edge.
When it comes to regulations, the construction services director for the city of Myrtle Beach, Chris Lee, said guardrails on balconies must be at least 42 inches tall. Those guidelines were adopted from the 2015 International Building Code.
The department said the codes are enforced during construction, but after that it’s up to the property owner to maintain and inspect on their own.
“These rails are designed for safety and they’re designed where you can easily get over them. So I guess people need to make people aware of what can happen to them and some of that can be in signage and telling people, ‘Be aware, there’s danger here if you do certain things,’" said Edge.