Venice police launch inquiry after schoolgirl falls from hotel

Italian police were investigating last night how a 16-year-old British schoolgirl came to fall nearly 30ft on to a pavement and suffered multiple injuries after the window ledge where she was sitting after a late-night party collapsed without warning.

Doctors treating Su Cangatin-Ripley said she had avoided death because her fall, at around 1am on Saturday from the second floor of the Hotel Cristallo on the Venice Lido, was broken by the canvas awning of a bar directly beneath her window, causing her to bounce on to a footpath.

The teenager, a member of a party of 42 students and teachers from a private school in Battersea, south London, taking part in a choir tour, was in hospital last night with head, chest and renal injuries. Staff at the Dell'Angelo Hospital in Mestre, where she is being treated, said she had made good progress after initially being put on a ventilator, adding she was "very lucky to be alive".

As her parents maintained a vigil at her bedside, managers at the hotel said they had warned the pupils and their supervisors about the risks of sitting on the ledges the day before the accident.

Photographs showed the thick concrete sill, where witnesses said Ms Cangatin-Ripley had been smoking a cigarette while sitting with her legs dangling from the window, had sheared from its stone frame along almost its entire length. The Milan-based Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that the teenager, a keen athlete and euphonium player, had been talking with fellow pupils sitting in similar positions on the first and second floors of the hotel. Nicola Fullin, the manager of the Hotel Cristallo, a popular three-star hotel on the Lido beach resort, claimed that boys and girls from the £3,400-a-term Emanuel School had been misbehaving.

Mr Fullin said: "The last few nights the students were spotted sitting on the window ledge and some were smoking. We spoke to the teachers about it and warned them it was dangerous – we also heard that the students were climbing into other rooms via the windows."

The group of 37 students and five teachers were in Venice to perform five church concerts and had sung in the famous Chiesa di San Pietro di Castello prior to the fall.

Mr Fullin added: "I know there had been a party on a nearby beach earlier but I'm not sure if the girl had been drinking. She has been very lucky, she is alive thanks to the fact she hit the canopy first. It's a miracle that was even there – the bar owners usually close it at night."

The room in which Ms Cangatin-Ripley had been staying remained sealed yesterday as police continued their investigation. Mr Fullin insisted the damage to the ledge had been caused by firefighters called to the scene although police confirmed it had at least partly collapsed when the teenager fell.

A Venice police spokesman said: "We are just focusing on the fact that she has been seriously injured after the ledge gave way and have sealed off the room."

Onofrio La Manna, the director of the Dell'Angelo Hospital, said scans showed the teenager had bruising to her liver, lung and kidneys but her head and chest injuries appeared superficial. He said: "Doctors are very pleased with her progress. She can think herself very lucky to be alive."

No one from Emanuel College was available to comment.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee