Officials: No foul play in soldier's 40-foot fall
A soldier who fell from a hotel balcony in Bamberg a week ago Wednesday apparently was trying to retrieve a dropped cigarette when she tumbled from the fourth-floor veranda, an Army spokesman said.
Since investigators determined no criminal activity occurred, the Army is not releasing the soldier’s name, rank, age or gender, though a hotel employee identified the injured soldier as a female.
"Because no one has been charged with anything, I can’t give any identifying information on the people involved," said Bruce Anderson, a spokesman for U.S. Army Europe.
Anderson did say that, as of Tuesday, the soldier was still in a local German hospital. A German police officer familiar with the case said late last week the soldier broke cervical vertebrae.
The accident occurred at about 10 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Hotel Central in downtown Bamberg, said Anderson, citing an initial Army investigation. The inquiry determined the soldier stepped onto the balcony to smoke a cigarette. While smoking, she dropped the cigarette, leaned over the railing to reclaim it but lost her balance and fell.
Another soldier in the hotel room heard screams and went to assist but was too late. The female soldier somehow managed to grab hold of the balcony momentarily, but then lost her grip and fell approximately 40 feet.
Anderson said the injured soldier is expected to make a full recovery. Additionally, Army investigators have ruled out foul play, though they acknowledge that alcohol consumption could have been a contributing factor.
While no charges have been filed against either soldier, the Army is looking into the matter.
"The unit is investigating separate but related issues," Anderson said.
The Army is conducting a safety investigation to determine what if any measures could be taken to prevent a similar incident in the future.
Stripes editorial assistant Marcus Klöckner contributed to this report.