Another Travel Tragedy

Southlake man falls to his death at Florida hotel while chaperoning spring break teens

Southlake man falls to his death at Florida hotel on spring break trip

Pilot Thomas Saunders of Southlake
American Airlines pilot Thomas Saunders died after a fall in a Florida hotel. Photo via Facebook

Another North Texas man has fallen to his death while on vacation. Thomas Saunders, 62, was chaperoning his daughter and her friends on spring break in Florida when he fell to his death inside their hotel. The March 19 incident comes just four days after John Anderson of Grapevine died tragically at the Grand Canyon.

Around 9:30 am on Wednesday, Saunders is believed to have fallen from the 12th floor balcony onto the first-floor roof at the Panama City Holiday Inn. Captain Robert Clarkson with the Panama City Beach Police Department says there is no indication of foul play or that alcohol was a factor.

Clarkson says it appears Saunders had been drinking coffee with his girlfriend inside their room on the 12th floor before going into the hallway. "Every indication is that he had a horrible accident and fell over the railing," Clarkson says.

Police pronounced Saunders dead at the scene. Saunders worked for American Airlines as a Boeing 777 captain. He is survived by three daughters. His youngest, Rachel Saunders, was on vacation with her friends and father in Florida.

She was sleeping in the hotel when he died and expressed her shock on Twitter. "I can't believe this. It doesn't feel real," she wrote on March 19.

An autopsy and toxicology report is pending with the Medical Examiner's Office and should be available in about six weeks.

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