Woman catches baby after fall from fourth-floor hotel balcony

  • @robhastings

A British woman holidaying in Florida has become a local hero after catching a baby girl who fell from a fourth-floor hotel balcony.

Sixteen-month-old Jah-Nea Myles dropped and landed in the arms of Helen Beard, 44, from Worksop in Northamptonshire, without a scratch or blemish.

Mrs Beard, who is on holiday in Orlando, was beside the pool at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites at 11pm on Wednesday when she noticed Jah-Nea dangling between some fourth-floor railings.

She ran to stand underneath the balcony just in time as the girl dropped, managing to break her fall. The toddler slipped from her hands and hit the ground, but despite also suffering a glancing blow from the third-floor balcony as she fell, Jah-Nea was completely unharmed, said paramedics, who took her to hospital as a precaution.

The child's mother, 20-year-old Helena Myles, told Reuters: "She's perfectly fine. Not a scratch on her body."

Mrs Myles had left her daughter in the care of two friends, who were staying in an adjoining apartment, but they did not notice when the little girl made her way out of the room.

They were alerted to the fall by screams, however. Mrs Myles was "relieved" when she dashed to the balcony and saw Jah-Nea in Mrs Beard's arms. "I'm thanking the Lord above right now for saving my child's life," said Mrs Myles. "I'm also thanking that lady because she was an angel sent from heaven."

Mrs Myles added that she did not harbour any grudges against her friends for the accident, saying: "I'm not upset with anyone. I've had it out with my friends."

After being released from Arnold Palmer Hospital, the toddler was said by Denise Rollins, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, to be "playful" and untroubled by the events. The Sheriff's Office described it simply as "a miracle".

The Florida Department of Children and Families said it was investigating the incident, possibly with regard to the size of the space between the railings, but so far no criminal charges have been brought.

Mrs Myles, her daughter and her two friends have all since been moved to another hotel nearby to avoid the considerable media attention generated by the incident.