May 5, 2021
Witnesses said that a store's awning likely saved a 3-year-old boy's life after he fell out of a window at his Bronx apartment, five stories above the ground.
The surveillance video of the scary incident on Wednesday shows the awning, which was the only thing between little Jose and the sidewalk, shake as he hits it on the way down. After he landed, he is seen on video trying to get up, seemingly uncertain of what just happened.
Neighbors are seen quickly surrounding the boy, with one man pulling him into his arms.
"The guy was holding the baby. The baby was alive, his eyes were open, and everybody was just screaming and upset at the time. That's when I came back, told the mom that the baby was alive and that's when she felt a little bit better."
The toddler, who has Down syndrome, was home with his mother, sister and aunt at the time of the fall. They said he's usually their focus, but they hadn't noticed he was missing — meanwhile, Jose had pushed in a piece of cardboard separating the air conditioner from the window.
After the fall, his aunt went down to see him, explaining in Spanish "he was just looking at us in surprise. he wasn't crying, just seemed scared as if wondering what was happening."
Jose's mother was too terrified to initially come outside, assuming her child had died. Police said that he survived the terrifying fall with just a broken femur. The building's super told NBC New York the carboard and the AC unit were later removed. He said a window guard was added again, after it had been taken out to put in the air conditioner.
"It's kinda hard to look at something like that happening," said Hector Nazario, who owns a tax prep office right where the scene unfolded. "It's a miracle the child is still alive, and it could have been worse."
The family said Jose will have to stay in the hospital for a month to make sure his leg heals properly.
Police are classifying the incident as an accident, with no criminality involved and no charges coming