Grandmother left Beijing 'fall' toddler home alone because 'he was asleep'

 Published: 6/20/2011 8:01:05 AM GMT
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The grandmother said she only left him because she thought he was asleep.

"I had to run some errands. I only left him alone because he was sleeping," said Chi Ailan, the 58-year-old grandmother of Yang Daofeng, known to his family as Yang Yang.

But while Mrs Chi was out, Yang Yang woke up and went out on to the flat's terrace through a door that his grandmother had left open.

The three-year-old then fell from the balcony, only to be saved from plummeting straight to the ground by becoming trapped behind an air-conditioning unit on the seventh floor.

By the time Mrs Chi returned home the terrified toddler was slowly slipping from his position, while neighbours who had heard his cries mounted a desperate rescue operation from the terrace of the closest flat.

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"Yang Yang was screaming. I felt very bad and extremely guilty then for leaving him alone," said Mrs Chi, whose son, Yang Yang's father, had been alerted by neighbours and had rushed home from the shop he owns selling skateboards.

"We didn't know what to do. The neighbours had called the police and the fire brigade but they hadn't arrived, so some of them were trying to grab Yang Yang. My son was shaking from fear and I was in shock."

Finally, a restaurant owner from across the street balanced on the very edge of the terrace, before grabbing Yang Yang and swinging him to safety.

"The neighbours couldn't reach the kid from the balcony. I could see he was beginning to slip, so I climbed over and grabbed one of his arms and lifted him free. When we carried him inside, the kid was crying and so was his dad.

He kept saying, 'thank you, thank you'," said Zhou Bo.

Despite having saved Yang Yang from certain death and put his own life at risk, Mr Zhou said he didn't regard himself as a hero.

"I feel I did what I'd do if I saw anyone in trouble, I'd try and help them," said the 35-year-old.

"The family gave me 500 Yuan (£47) afterwards, but I gave it back. I didn't rescue the child because of money. I did it because if he had died it would have been a tragedy for the family."

Five days after his miraculous escape, Yang Yang appeared to show no effects from the ordeal.

He sat on the floor watching cartoons on TV and drinking milk, before lying down and falling asleep. This time, though, his grandmother didn't go out.

"The police came about twenty minutes after Yang Yang was saved and told me to take care of him and not to let it happen again," said Mrs Chi.

"From now on, I will never leave him alone again."

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