x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Hero tells of sorrow after boy's fatal fall

Tin Aungwin thought he had saved the little boy's life, and only later in hospital did he learn that the child had died.

DUBAI // The security guard who tried to catch a five-year-old boy as he fell to his death from an eighth-floor apartment spoke yesterday of his sorrow that the effort was in vain.

Tin Aungwin thought he had saved the little boy's life, and only later in hospital did he learn that the child had died.

As a father of a young boy himself, the 30-year-old from Myanmar says that despite his own injuries, all he feels is sorrow.

"Although all my body is aching, I cannot feel the pain. All I feel is the sorrow because I could not save his life," he said.

"I really thought I had saved him but one of my colleagues, who had accompanied me to hospital, told me later that the boy did not make it. I felt sad. I really thought I saved him."

The child was alone in the apartment of the MAG 214 building early on Tuesday morning while his mother waited for the school bus with her 14-year-old daughter at the entrance to the building.

Police believe the child climbed on to a table, then fell out of the forward-opening window. The mother, apparently consumed by grief at being unable to reach her son in time to stop him falling, jumped after him.

Mr Aungwin, who is to be honoured by Dubai Police for his heroic act, has been working as a security guard in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers building for three months.

He had just finished his night shift and was handing over to the day guard five minutes before the boy's fall. He heard screams from a man who works as a driver for one of the tenants, and went to see the cause of the commotion.

“I rushed out and I immediately realised what was going on. More than 65 per cent of the boy’s body was already outside the window. He was trying to push himself up as he was clutching to the window for a few seconds but failed,” said Mr Aungwin.

“I only had one thing in mind when I saw him falling, I had to catch him. I kept imagining my son who is the same body size as this boy.

“I really wanted to catch him and I was confident that I would.”

Mr Aungwin reached out his arms to catch the boy but because of the speed at which the child was falling, he was unable to keep hold of his body. The security guard fell backwards, and hit his head on the ground. “At that moment I thought, ‘I have rescued him’, but I was getting dizzy and was not really comprehending what was going on around me.”

Semi-conscious, he was taken to Rashid hospital suffering from injuries to his head, arms and right leg. He has been told by doctors to take rest in bed for three weeks.

Mr Aungwin has fond memories of the child. “He was an active boy, big for his age, and he always used to follow his mother around. I used to say hello to him and ask him how he was. I love children because they remind me of my son while he is far away.”

Dubai Police are to honour the security guard for his bravery, said Lt Col Ahmed al Merri, head of the criminal investigation division at Dubai Police. “All respect goes to this man who tried to save the boy. He is a noble man. We wish he had been able to save him but this does not change that what he did is a brave act.”

Mr Aungwin’s employer, Secure Plus, has also granted him a recognition award certificate, a bonus and gifts, according to Kunal Lahri, the company’s managing director.

Mr Aungwin said he was not expecting any recognition. “As security guards, it is our duty to save lives and that was the only thing I had in mind. I only wish he had not died.”

wissa@thenational.ae