Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

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  • Photo/Illustraion

KOBE--A sexagenarian, a septuagenarian and an octogenarian pulled off a dashing feat by rescuing a fifth-grader boy on the verge of falling from the 11th floor of a condominium here this summer.

The incident occurred around 2 p.m. on Aug. 9 at a 14-floor condominium in this port city's Hyogo Ward.

Junichiro Furukawa, 83, who lives on the 10th floor, rushed to the common corridor outside after a resident frantically pounded on his front door to ask his help.

Furukawa was astounded to come across the boy hanging by both arms from the floor above. The distance to the ground was about 30 meters, causing grave concern.

On the 11th floor, two of the boy's friends were desperately holding on to his arms and trying to pull him up through a small space below the partition.

Furukawa dashed back inside his unit and brought out mountain climbing rope, and used it to tie the boy's ankles together. The other end of the rope was attached to a nearby column.

Sansa Gi, 73, who also lives on the 10th floor, came to help out and grabbed the boy's legs from below.

The boy kept screaming "I will fall" and "I'm going to die." His friends shouted, "Don't let go of your hands."

Masahiro Yamagiwa, 69, who lives on the 12th floor, wondered what all the fuss was about and went to investigate. He brought a stepladder to the 10th floor, stood on it and held on to the boy's body with his right arm.

Yamagiwa yelled to the two friends on the upper floor, "Let go of him."

With that as a sign, Furukawa and Gi tugged on the boy's legs.

The three men and the young boy all fell to the 10th floor hallway. Gi scraped himself, but the boy was unhurt.

The incident was over in 10 minutes.

According to officers at the Hyogo Police Station, the boy was playing with four friends in the condominium and had climbed over the partition along the hallway and was apparently trying to climb down the column to the lower floor.

The three senior citizens were given an award by the Hyogo prefectural government for their quick wits and life-saving response.

When the boy and his parents visited Furukawa to apologize, he told them, "Don't scold him too much since he went through such a frightening experience."

Yamagiwa said, "The only thing I have to say is that I am so glad we were able to save him."