TOM STILWELL/VIA FACEBOOK
Friends say Tom Stillwell, 20, became locked out of his 14th floor Auckland apartment and decided to climb out of the above 15th floor room to lower himself down.
Friends of Tom Stilwell say he’s lucky to be alive while describing his injuries to the BBC as “more internal … he’s broken some bones in his ribs and neck but they’re not important bones.”
Police say Stilwell, from Brighton, England, and who was working abroad, became locked out of his 14th floor Auckland apartment around 2 a.m. local time when he decided to climb out of the 15th floor room directly above and lower himself down.
His acrobatic idea got the best of him when he instead plummeted 13-stories before smacking into the roof of an adjacent building which doctors say broke his fall and possibly saved his life.
The upstairs neighbor, who witnessed Stilwell’s terrifying fall, told the New Zealand Herald that the young man appeared “a little tipsy” when he knocked on her door asking to come in, but said he was otherwise very polite.
“I wasn’t scared of him. He just requested, ‘Can you please let me jump off from the balcony? I will not bother you, just let me use your balcony,'” Geraldine Bautista, 28, recalled.
“I never thought he would really do that,” she said. “In my mind I thought ‘Okay, I’ll just let you see that it’s really impossible.’ I didn’t think he would jump, because it’s really scary.”
New Zealand authorities say Stillwell plummeted 13-stories from this apartment complex before hitting the roof of an adjacent building, likely saving his life.
But Bautista says within “seconds,” Stilwell had lifted himself over the balcony’s edge and completely disappeared. “I couldn’t even scream for help.”
On Monday morning Stilwell woke in satisfactory condition in an intensive care unit, according to a hospital spokesperson.
He was described as laughing with his friends while having no memory of either the brazen stunt or fall.
“He’s absolutely fine…He’s a very lucky man,” his 22-year-old best friend and roommate, Dave Thomas, told the Herald.
“He’s normally the sensible one out of all of us,” Thomas added of his bizarre move that he described as very unlike him.
Thomas said that he arrived at their apartment just 10 to 15 minutes after Stilwell’s desperate jump and that if he just would have waited a little longer, it never would have happened.
Doctors say they’re astonished the man escaped with his life.
“From that sort of height you can have injuries to everything and anything,” St John medical director Dr Tony Smith told the Herald. “Survival from falls of that height are extraordinarily unusual.”
Read more: NY Daily News