Plainfield teen's fall from Florida balcony ruled accidental

photo courtesy WJHG
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The death of a Plainfield Community Middle School student who fell from a balcony in Panama City Beach, Florida last Saturday has been determined an accident.

An autopsy confirmed that Zachary Dickman, 13, died from blunt force trauma to the head due to the fall from a 15th-floor condominium balcony.

Zachary Dickman's classmates at Plainfield Community Middle School got the heartbreaking news Monday morning as they returned from spring break.

Panama City Beach Police tell Eyewitness News that Zach had been vacationing in the resort town with his family. They say he fell 150 feet from the balcony onto a pool deck, where he was pronuonced dead at the scene.

Police say it happened at 10:00 am Saturday morning as Zach, his mother, younger brother and grandparents were checking out of the beachside condo.

They say Zach and his grandmother returned to the condo unit to look for his cell phone.  His grandmother, who was in another room, called for him. When he didn't answer she realized he had fallen from the balcony.

Police say there were no witnesses.

Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman said, "It looks like it's going to be an accidental death, but it's a tragic event. He's a young man, 13 years of age.  And anyone who loses their life that young, it's horrible."

The school district released this statement Monday:

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of our students, Zachary Dickman, who died while in Florida over spring break. Zach was in 7th grade at Plainfield Community Middle School. He was an honor roll student, well-liked and extremely bright. He was also active in the Plainfield Community Middle School band.

The loss of Zach is a sobering tragedy for our school community. Staff and students have been informed of this loss. Counselors are available to students and staff for assistance in answering any questions and coping with their grief.

We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Zach's family. We will provide information about memorial services and funeral arrangements once available. Thank you for your concern at this difficult time."