Toddler Survives 11-Story Fall from Minneapolis High Rise

Updated: 05/14/2014 9:27 AM
Created: 05/13/2014 9:48 PM
By: Beth McDonough

About 3,300 children a year are injured in falls from windows or balconies. Sadly, one of them is a Minneapolis toddler, 15-month-old Musa Dayib. He lives with his family in the Riverside Plaza Apartment Complex near Interstate-94.

The accident happened Sunday around 8 p.m. When his father stepped out of the room, Musa's sister opened the balcony door and he went outside, slipping through the railing and tumbling 11 stories.

His family showed us pictures of Musa hooked up to machines for breathing; doctors at Hennepin County Medical Center are caring for him.

The boy is alive, and everyone is amazed.

"Musa fell very far; I don't think I've taken care of a child that fell 11 stories," Dr. Tina Slusher said.

Doctors believe he was saved by his tender age and by landing on a soft surface of mulch.

"If he landed a little bit on one side or the other it would be even worse," Slusher said.

The high-rise apartment tower is 20 stories tall, and half the units have balconies.

"How a child fit through 5 1/2 inches, we don't know yet," complex owner George Sherman said.

Police call it an accident. 

Musa's uncle sees it as an opportunity to improve safety for the 5,000 people, mostly young families, who live here.

"We cannot argue about what happened," Musa's uncle said. "We have to focus on how to protect the rest of the kids that stay here; there's something that needs to be done."

The complex is home to everyone who attended a community meeting Tuesday night. The building owner offered them a temporary tool to block balcony doors while he looks for a permanent safety fix, like latches or replacing railing.

The owner said balcony doors, screens and locks were replaced. City leaders said the building is up to code.

Musa has fractured arms, ribs, back, bruised lungs and a concussion. He's expected to be in the hospital for weeks.

Photo: Family of Musa Dayib

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