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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 2, 2006

Boy, 3, killed in fall at Waikiki hotel

By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer

Police blocked off the scene where a 3-year-old fell from a balcony of Hilton Hawaiian Village's Ali'i Tower.

ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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A 3-year-old boy from New York state fell to his death yesterday from an eighth-floor balcony of a hotel room at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, police said.

A police investigator said the fall appears to be an accident. It happened about 4:35 p.m. at the Ali'i Tower of the Hawaiian Village.

Police said the boy was unattended on the balcony and that witnesses saw him fall.

Police Lt. Dwight Rodrigues said it was not immediately known exactly what happened, but said it is possible the child squeezed his way through the bars of the balcony railing.

Medical personnel pronounced the boy dead at the scene, Rodrigues said. Police classified the incident as an unattended death.

The family is from Montebello, N.Y., just north of New York City, said Jessica Lani Rich, president and executive director of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, which met with the family at the hotel last night.

They arrived in Hawai'i on Christmas Day for a family vacation, Rich said. The parents brought their four children boys ages 3 and 6, and girls ages 4 1/2 and 14 as well as the children's maternal grandparents from Loudonville, N.Y., Rich said.

"The parents are devastated over the loss of their child," Rich said.

Emergency Medical Services workers also provided support to distraught family members, EMS Chief Norman Han said.

Asked how far apart the balcony bars are spaced, Hilton Hawaiian Village spokeswoman Dara Young said the hotel was referring questions to police.

An official from the city medical examiner's office went to the hotel to begin an investigation to determine the cause of death. Rodrigues said police will continue to investigate the incident.

Ali'i Tower is one of six towers at the Hawaiian Village. It is at the southeast corner of the hotel property, near the ocean.

Yesterday's death was the third in the past 18 months in Honolulu involving a young child falling from a high-rise balcony.

On Nov. 20, 2004, a 4-year-old boy died after falling eight floors from the lanai of his family's condominium on Kuilei Street in Mo'ili'ili.

On Aug. 8, 2004, Exodus Berger, 2, died after climbing onto a metal storage rack and falling from a 14th-floor balcony at an apartment on University Avenue.

Berger's death was the first caused by a fall from a high-rise involving a child age 4 or younger since March 1999, according to the state Department of Health.

Advertiser staff writer Rod Ohira contributed to this report.

Reach Loren Moreno at lmoreno@honoluluadvertiser.com.