Video of dramatic rescue after child falls 30 feetPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX - A child fell more than 30 feet from bails of recycled paper but survived.
Rescue crews say the child could have died on impact or even suffocated in all of the papers but they found him and most everyone says it was the best moment of their career.
The 3-year-old boy was still shivering after being buried beneath 30 foot-piles of recycled paper and plastic. Police and firefighters tried to warm him after a more than seven-hour search.
Mary Zielinski, with Phoenix police, says, "I just saw this little hand come crawling out towards me and the guys were making fun of me. They said I let out a yell and I don't even remember that."
Officer Zielinski still has his little sock. She was the first person to spot the child.
She says, "The mama bear took over in me and I just grabbed his hand and pulled him out and just held him and he didn't make a peep.You could tell he was scared."
It had been a scary search for the child. Officers and firefighters from all across Phoenix volunteered their time tearing through thousands and thousands of papers.
3TV is told the child had been playing with four other kids at the paper factory where his mother's boyfriend works. Surveillance video shows the children moments before the accident. Investigators say somehow the mother lost track of the kids and the child fell through the stacks.
Rich Shore, also with Phoenix police, explains, "He probably slid down through loose paper and it probably cushioned his blow. There was some areas though that if he would have been in another area he would have fallen straight 30 feet and hit concrete."
Unsure, rescue crews brought in the K9's and searched through the crevices.
They also brought in a heat camera. Officer Shore says, "It looked like a little baby laying face down through the heat camera." One by one they moved the 2,000-pound bails until finally they found the child.
Officer Shore says, "Seeing a 3-year-old child come out in the condition he came out has probably been the best thing that has ever happened to me in my career."
"It was a miracle, it really was. It was a great late Christmas present," agrees Officer Zielinski.
The child suffered hypothermia but is said to be doing well. 3TV is told the child is home from the hospital and investigators are looking into whether his mother could be charged with child neglect.