Friday 22 February 2019

'Miracle toddler' Neil home after five-storey fall from hotel balcony

'Miracle boy' who fell five floors from hotel roof back home with his family

Neil Shanahan (2), five-and-a-half weeks after his accident Photo: Press 22
Neil Shanahan (2), five-and-a-half weeks after his accident Photo: Press 22
Martina Collins with her three sons Billy (1), Mairtín (5) and Neil (2). Photo: Press 22

David Raleigh

A toddler who fell five floors from a hotel rooftop has made a miraculous recovery.

Neil Shanahan (2) has been described as the "flying boy" after he survived the fall from the sixth-floor balcony to a concrete area on the first-floor of the Strand Hotel in Limerick on July 2.

Neil has returned to his home in Farranshone, Co Limerick, after spending the past five weeks in the care of staff at Temple Street Children's Hospital.

His mother Martina is convinced that her little boy was saved by a series of miracles.

"I believe it was a miracle. I believe I got a dig-out, I really do," the mother of three said.

Neil spent much of his five weeks in hospital in the Intensive Care Unit, and he was put in a full body cast as doctors monitored his amazing recovery.

The toddler and his "thrilled" family arrived home in Farranshone last Friday night, having endured a traumatic time since the incident.

"He spent 70 hours in a critical condition. I'm just so delighted he's home. I'm just so delighted I got my [boy] back. He's my life. I would never have got over it if we had lost him," Martina said.

Neil has been nicknamed "miracle boy" by his family and neighbours. Oblivious to all the drama, he happily played away on a giant bean bag chair as his older brother Mairtín (5) watched one of his favourite cartoons on the television yesterday.

The family broke into laughter after Martina asked Neil where he had fallen from. "The roof," he replied, with a cheeky grin.

Martina and husband Mike said they were still trying to recover from the emotional rollercoaster they have all been on since July 2.

The Shanahan family had been attending a coffee morning in the hotel when Neil got into a lift that took him to the sixth floor. Somehow he managed to get from the lift to the rooftop balcony before falling to the ground. One eyewitness described seeing him dangling off the large letters that spell out the hotel's name, before he lost his grip.

"It's just so overwhelming, from start to finish. It's still overwhelming," Martina said.

Michael and Martina are delighted to see their three boys - Mairtín, who was born with cerebral palsy, Neil (2) and Billy (1) - united again. "It is just wonderful to get them all back together, because I had to hand over my little boy, our baby, for five weeks, so that wasn't an easy thing. It is lovely to have us all back as a unit. It's just so special, it's a lovely time," an emotional Martina said.

She paid special tribute to an American nurse who was visiting Limerick on a tour of Ireland when she saw Neil land on the ground.

"I just saw her breathe life back into him," Martina said. "When he coughed and when he moaned, I just knew he wasn't dead. It was an amazing thing that she was there, and that she was on site at that moment. I just feel so thankful to her. She is my angel. We firmly believe she saved him."

Neil bears no physical scars from the dramatic events and is receiving physiotherapy to get him properly back on his feet.

The family also thanked the nurses and doctors at Temple Street, their family, neighbours and friends.

Irish Independent

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