Panama City Beach, Fla. (CBS TAMPA) — A 13-year-old Indiana boy was checking out of a Panama City Beach condominium with his family when he realized he’d left his phone back in the room and went upstairs to retrieve it – but the boy somehow fell 15 stories to his death.
Panama City Beach police have released the name of Zachary Ditman, 13, of Plainfield, Ind., who fell 15 stories to his death from the Palazzo Condominiums on the West End of Front Beach road, WJHG-TV reports. Police and fire officials say they received a call before 10 a.m. Saturday from his grandmother, who said the 7th grader did not return for several minutes after going to retrieve his cell phone from the room.
When his grandmother went up to check on the boy, she realized he had fallen off the hotel balcony.
Police say Ditman fell from the 15th floor balcony and was pronounced dead at the scene. Although the investigation is still ongoing, pending a Medical Examiner autopsy, no foul play is suspected and the incident is being viewed as an accident, WMBB reports.
The boy was visiting Panama City Beach with his mother, brother, and grandparents and they were wrapping up their Florida vacation when the boy realized he’d left his phone in the room.
“Grandmother waited for a few seconds. Started calling his name no answer, that’s when she realized he fell off the balcony,” Drew Whitman, Panama City Beach Police Chief, told WJHG.
Authorities are still unsure what events led to the boy’s fall to the parking garage below the condos, and other visitors expressed their shock at the boy’s death.
“Everything that I’ve heard here is like just like crazy people like partying, but I’ve never heard of like deaths like this,” visitor Marissa Clement, told WJHG.