British urban explorer, 30, killed in Thailand hotel balcony plunge

An urban explorer who climbed famous buildings and artworks has died after falling from a Bangkok hotel balcony.

Jim Smith, 30, from Middlesbrough, was on business in Thailand when he was found in gardens below his fifth floor room on Monday.

Friends on the urban explorer website 28 Days Later paid tribute to a well-liked climber and adventurer.

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They suspected he may have been climbing in or out of the hotel, situated near the airport, where he was staying alone, when he slipped.

Family members from Middlesbrough, as well as his Hartlepool-based employer, have flown out to Thailand after the tragedy.

The urban exploring craze involves seeking out unusual buildings – often derelict and ignored by the public at large – to investigate and photograph.

One friend on the site’s forum suspected he was on an adventure when he died, saying: “It seems unlikely that Jim would of (sic) accidentally fallen from a height as many of you know he had a fairly good head for heights and he was not clumsy.

“He may of (sic) tried to climb out of his hotel after having some drinks to escape into town. But we will probably never know what had actually happened.

“Jim was a lovely, ambitious, life-loving person who loved a challenge. He will be sorely missed by all his friends and family.”

Shocked fellow explorers shared stories of how together they had climbed the Angel of the North in Gateshead, Middlesbrough’s Newport Bridge and the new Temenos sculpture by the River Tees, which looks like a huge stretched tennis net.

Forum member Skydiver said his friend, known to many as Solomon, was afraid of heights yet still climbed.

He wrote: “We met two weeks ago and climbed to the shoulders of the Angel (of the North).

“He really was an inspirational guy, scared of heights, yet he climbed that rope with no hesitation at all.”

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Cleveland Police was informed yesterday morning of the sudden death abroad of a 30-year-old Middlesbrough man who had been on business in Asia.

“Along with our colleagues from the British Embassy and the Foreign Office, we have offered whatever support, advice and assistance we can to his family back home in Cleveland.”