Teen tourist dies after hotel balcony fall

09:53, Jul 27 2014
James Teague
DIED AFTER FALL: James Teague, left, died while holidaying with friends.

A 19-year-old who plunged 10 metres from a hotel balcony has died in hospital.

James Teague, a Sydney teenager, died at 11.40pm last night, a Dunedin hospital spokeswoman said.

Teague passed away only hours after his beloved rugby team, the New South Wales Waratahs, had rallied support behind him in an emotional tribute at Allianz stadium, in New South Wales. 

The University of Sydney student from Paddington had been in a critical condition since Thursday.

Teague was on holiday with a group of friends at the Glebe Apartments in Queenstown.

Police said that just before 3am on Thursday, Teague tried to climb from a second-floor balcony to the rooftop of the Glebe Apartments. 


He suffered a major head injury after falling six metres from the balcony to a carpark below, police said. 

He had been drinking with four other friends at the time, Detective Matt Jones said. 

Members of his family travelled from Australia to be with him.

After learning of his death, friends of Teague paid tribute to him, describing him as an "incredible young man," a "beautiful soul" and the "sunshine in our lives." 

As Teague fought for his life in the intensive care unit of Dunedin hospital, friends united behind the popular teenager.

They created a social media campaign, #Clapforjames, which produced an outpouring of support.

A rugby union lover, Teague was supposed to be enjoying the Waratahs semi-final with friends and family on Saturday night back in Sydney. 

As Teague was still fighting for his life, the Waratahs paid tribute to him before the game. 

"A big Tahs fan, 19-year-old James Teague had been looking forward to being here tonight," the announcement said.

"Tragically he was involved in an accident earlier this week and is now in a critical condition in hospital. Our thoughts are with the Teague family. We wish James all the very, very best for a full and speedy recovery." 

Teague is the son of prominent and controversial Sydney psychiatrist Robert Hampshire, who has been at his bedside with his wife since he fell. 

This is the second time that a man has died after falling from a balcony at the Glebe apartments in Queenstown.

In 2008, Invercargil electrician, Shaun Hogan, fell to his death from the roof of the apartment block. 

Then, in 2009, James Smith, an English backpacker also passed away after he fell 10 metres from the roof of another Queenstown block, Base Backpackers. 

Glebe Apartments manager Anne Henley was concerned about the number of intoxicated Australians in Queenstown and insisted that the Glebe apartments were safe. 

"These kids have got to stop drinking and climbing," she said.  

''Perhaps it is something the council needs to address in Queenstown, just the numbers of people coming to Queenstown, naturally [these kinds of incidents] are going to increase.''

Fairfax NZ, Sydney Morning Herald and AAP