Case Study – Fatal Balcony Fall

The case study below shows how Advanced Simtech was able to use innovative methods to provide insight into a fatal balcony fall scenario.

Our client explained that there was question over whether the fall was the result of an intentional jump, or a push from a third party.

Physical evidence from the scene was used to build a highly accurate virtual model of the scene. This data was used in conjunction with CCTV analysis and human body simulation to demonstrate ways in which the known ground impact position could be achieved.


Case Study – Fatal Balcony Fall

Customer: Private Client

Case Overview

A male fell from a first floor balcony, struck the pavement below and received fatal injuries. The final resting position/orientation was known to an approximate level, and there was CCTV footage of the incident. However, the line of sight, resolution and frame rate were such that the footage in itself yielded little information about the incident.

The circumstances prior to the incident indicated that there may have been foul play involved.

Objective 

To reconstruct the scenario and investigate whether the fall could have been the result of a malicious push.

Solution/Methodology

The toolsets used in this investigation were as follows:

  1. High definition laser scanning
  2. Spatial correlation of CCTV footage to 3-Dimensional models
  3. Human body simulation

A detailed laser scan was carried out at the scene of the incident. The capture of the 200m scene was carried out within two hours and is accurate to within 3mm. Included in the scene scan was the CCTV camera itself.

balcony7.png

From this data, a simple 3-Dimensional model of the key areas of the scene was created:

 

 balcony6.png

 

A still frame from the CCTV image is shown below with the fall zone circled in red. In this area it was possible to see an object falling to the ground, but just 3 frames of footage covered the entire fall, and the clarity was very poor.

 

balcony5.png

 

By using easily identifiable features, such as window frames, in both this image and the laser scan model, it was possible to spatially position the 2-Dimensional CCTV images in the 3-Dimensional environment. This in turn allowed target markers to be placed in the 3-Dimensional model, which corresponded to the approximate position of the falling male in the 3 available frames.

 

balcony3.png

 

A MADYMO simulation model was created, comprising of a human body model falling under the influence of gravity from the first floor balcony.

balcony2.png

Results 

By applying various initial inputs to the human, it was apparent that a significant force was required in order for the motion path and final resting position to be matched to any degree.

 

Conclusion

Given the inputs required in order for the human to move towards the known fall area, Advanced Simtech were able to show that foul play was a possibility.

This project was carried out in conjunction with:

Cory Biomechanics and The 3D Studio Ltd

With ever increasing applications, specialized software and highly advanced methodologies; contact Advanced Simtech today to find out how we could benefit your organization.