Boy, 3, survives 8m mall plunge

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kid falls in mall

THE STAR

Yvette Asvestis cuddles her 3-year-old son Stefano who fell 8m through a balustrade gap at Bedford Centre, but suffered no injury. Photo: Chris Collingridge

Johannesburg - A three-year-old boy has survived an 8m fall at a Bedfordview shopping centre.

A tearful George Asvestison Thursday told how he watched in horror as his son Stefano fell through a gap between a glass panel and a column on the first floor of Bedford Centre.

“I witnessed that. I was expecting the worst as a parent,” said Asvestis.

As his son hit the ground near a coffee shop, landing on his stomach, Asvestis sprinted down to where the boy lay on the floor.

He immediately called an ambulance.

A team of doctors were waiting for their arrival at Union Hospital in Alberton, ready to treat the injured child.

But after several tests and a full examination, they found that Stefano had no major injuries and not a single broken bone.

“It’s a miracle,” said Asvestis, adding that he wanted to warn other parents to be cautious when letting their children play on the balustrades at shopping centres.

He had been waiting for photos to be developed when the accident happened and described what his son was doing before he fell.

“Every time we go to the Bedford Centre, my son likes to grab the balustrade and walk sideways like a crab,” he said.

But between the last glass panel and a pillar there was a gap of about 50cm.

“When he reached the end there was nothing there and he went straight through,” said Asvestis.

Speaking to The Star on Thursday morning, he said no one from the centre had yet contacted him about the fall or safety issues.

“He (Stefano) landed on the floor – nothing was between his fall and the ledge,” said Asvestis.

He said he and his wife would continue to monitor his son’s health, because he was limping a little on Thursday morning.

But they remained grateful that the little boy hadn’t been seriously hurt.

“This could have turned out a disastrous tragedy,” said Asvestis, who added that he would seek counselling.

He was still emotional and in a state of shock on Thursday morning.

Stefano’s mom, Yvette, said she was glad her 16-month-old daughter, Melina, had not been with them at the time.

“They follow each other everywhere,” she said.

“I don’t even want to think about it.”

She said she was upset that the centre had not approached them soon after the fall.

Bedford Centre manager Debbie Sharnock was unable to comment on the incident on Thursday morning.

“This is obviously under investigation, but the priority now is the well-being of the kid and the father.

“Thank God the child is fine – we got confirmation from the father.

“It is an absolute miracle that he is fine, it was quite a fall.

“When we know all the facts, we will be in a better position to comment,” she said.

brendan.roane@inl.co.za; botho.molosankwe@inl.co.za

The Star


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