Monday, March 11, 2019

NYP: Teen dies after fall from balcony at Cancun resort

A teenager from Michigan died after falling from a seventh-floor balcony while on spring break in Mexico, according to reports and college officials.
Ahmed Altaii, 19, of Dearborn, died late Saturday after plummeting from a balcony at the GR Solaris Hotel in Cancun, where he had been staying with his girlfriend. She told responding officers that Altaii had been drinking earlier in the day and witnesses reported that he was nervous prior to the fatal fall, the Yucatan Times reports.
Officials were waiting for an autopsy and toxicology report to determine Altaii’s cause of death. Authorities in Mexico have contacted Altaii’s relatives back in Michigan, according to the newspaper.
Details of what immediately preceded the incident were unclear, but a video purportedly shows Altaii sitting on a balcony before being bumped by another man, the Dearborn Press and Guide reports.
“I miss him so much,” Altaii’s girlfriend, Heidi Newman, told the newspaper. “We were so happy. He was the love of my life. I wish he was here right now — we all do.”
Newman said she and Altaii — who was studying business at Henry Ford College in Dearborn — were finishing up their vacation in Mexico when the accident occurred on the seventh floor at about 9 p.m. Saturday. They had been dating for about 18 months after meeting during their first week of classes at the community college, she said.
Altaii, who graduated Fordson High School last year, will be buried in Iraq, where many of his relatives still live, the Press and Guide reports.
Many of Altaii’s friends were shocked by the young man’s death while attending a vigil in his memory on Sunday at Ford Field Park, saying the sudden loss was hard to grasp.
“It’s very, very heartbreaking,” Aymen Mustafa told WJBK. “I really wish he was here today. He would have made us all have smiles on our faces. A lot of people are shocked that he’s gone, wish he could be with us here today.”
Mahmoud Darwich said he last saw Altaii a week earlier and shared a goodbye with his friend that now seems eerily fitting.
“Every day we were with each other, so I don’t know how to describe my favorite memory,” Darwich told the station. “We have so many memories. Last time I talked to him was on Sunday. We were at my friend’s house and it really put me at peace that the last things we said to each other were ‘I love you guys.’”
Rhonda DeLong, a spokeswoman for Henry Ford College, confirmed to The Post that Altaii was a first-year student pursuing a business curriculum.
“Ahmed’s passing is a terrible loss for our community,” college officials said in a statement obtained by The Post. “All of us are Henry Ford College send our deepest condolences and sympathy to the family and friends who are suffering from this tragedy.”
An online fundraiser created to help offset funeral costs for Altaii’s family has exceeded more than $8,900. (Via NYP)