Australian diplomat dies in New York building fall

BBC | Thursday, 16 November 2017

An Australian diplomat has died after falling from a New York City balcony while socialising with friends.

Julian Simpson, 30, accidentally slipped from a seventh-floor ledge of his Manhattan building to a landing on the second floor, the NYPD said.

US media reported he was playing a "trust game" with a friend when he fell.

Mr Simpson was an official representing Australia at the United Nations.

Police were called to the scene about 01:00 local time on Wednesday (06:00 GMT). Mr Simpson was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Mr Simpson had been out with his wife and friends when they returned home to view the Empire State Building, which was lit up to celebrate Australia's same-sex marriage vote result, police said.

A NYPD spokesperson would not comment on reports that the diplomat was playing a game when he fell. A police source said it was under investigation.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the accident a "shocking tragedy".

"Our hearts go out to his family but I cannot provide any more details at this stage," he told the local Seven Network.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was saddened by the death of Mr Simpson, who she had met recently in New York.

"Julian was a diligent, professional and highly skilled diplomat, whose support I valued, during UN Leaders' Week," she said.

Mr Simpson had been in the US for two years.