15-year-old New Zealand teen falls 16 stories, miraculously survives, is up walking

July 26, 2010- Last week a New Zealand teen who plunged more than 160 feet from the top floor of a 16-story apartment building in Auckland’s Manakau district is making a good recovery. He amazed everyone when he got out of bed Monday and walked on his own.

The 15-year-old teen is believed to have fallen from a balcony of the high-rise Proximity Apartments.

His fall was broken, and his life was saved, because he first hit the corrugated steel roof of the parking building below, which buckled as he crashed through it and cushioned his fall.

The teen remains at the city’s Middlemore Hospital where he is making a remarkable recovery, with a broken rib, fractured wrist, gouged leg, and internal injuries.

Hospital officials have described his survival as “miraculous” and say his prognosis is good. He is expected to be released from the hospital by the end of the week.

Doctors say it is very rare for anyone to survive a fall from more than five stories. The most common cause of death in falls is head injuries. He is lucky not to have landed on his head.

Another resident in the apartment saw the boy fall when he was out on his balcony smoking a cigarette. He called authorities after seeing the boy fall past him.

Kaa Wehi, a housekeeper at the complex, said people heard a loud crash. They first believed it was a car crash until they saw the boy lying on the ground.

Wehi said, “Then there was screaming, just screaming. The boy’s mother ran out of the elevator on the ground floor, shouting, ‘Is it my boy? Is it my boy?’”

She continued, “God must have been with him. He’s got an angel looking after him, that’s for sure.”

According to Wehi, the boy’s mother went to bed around 9:30 p.m. and left the boy to finish his homework on a laptop. The reason for his fall is unclear.

“His parents are dumbfounded about the whole thing,” she said.

Jason Epps-Eades, the building manager, said the apartment balconies were “very safe” with railings that were chest-high on a tall person.

“He’s going to be okay. It’s just incredible that he survived,” Mr Epps-Eades said.

CNN reported that the boy, who has been in the hospital less than a week after his fall, is walking around the hospital and is expected to be released later this week.

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