By Ray O’Hanlon
A 20-year-old Belfast man plunged to his death last weekend in the Jersey Shore resort town of Wildwood.
Colin Magill’s body was found by police in an alleyway after officers had responded to calls from residents complaining of a noisy party.
The party was in the same apartment building where Magill was staying, but the dead man had been asleep in his room, according to police. The death has been ruled an accident by investigators.
According to Det. Walt Cubernot, Magill had been asleep when the police received complaints of noise at the Celtic House apartment building about 4 a.m. last Saturday morning. The apartment house, on East Garfield Avenue, was full of Irish J1 visa students in town for the summer season.
A number of them, according to Cubernot, were having a party on a balcony at the front of the building. Police believe that Magill was asleep under a window in a room at the side of the building, that he awoke and got up to open the window.
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“The weather was warm. There was no sign of any struggle,” Cubernot said. “It would appear that in opening the window to let some air in Mr. Magill lost his balance and fell out.”
Magill plunged three floors into the alleyway. He was found lying in a pool of blood by officers responding to the disturbance calls.
The unconscious Magill was rushed to the trauma center in Atlantic City by a New Jersey State Police helicopter and placed on life support.
However, that life support was switched off when the young man’s parents arrived from Belfast Monday. The parents were assisted upon arrival in the U.S. by Fr. Gerry Burns of the Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center in Philadelphia.
Magill had been working in Wildwood on a J1 visa for about three weeks,” Cubernot said.
He was a student of music at the University of Ulster in Jordanstown outside Belfast.
Arrangements for Magill’s remains to be flown back to Ireland were being made as the Echo went to press.
Wildwood, just north of Cape May at the Jersey Shore’s southern tip, is a popular summer destination for young Irish people, most of them students and the majority of them from Northern counties.