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Tourist hailed as 'angel' for catching fall toddler

A BRITISH holidaymaker who caught a toddler after she fell from a hotel balcony has been hailed a "guardian angel", as authorities opened an inquiry into how the accident happened.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is investigating after 16-month-old Jah-Nea Myles fell from the fourth-floor balcony in Orlando.

Helen Beard (44), from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, spotted the child dangling through the balcony as she relaxed beside a pool at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites on Wednesday.

She ran to a spot directly under Jah-Nea, who is thought to have hit the balcony below on her way down. She broke the youngster's fall, before she slipped from her arms and hit the ground. Jah-Nea did not sustain any serious injuries.

Police said no criminal charges were pending, but yesterday Carrie Hoeppner, spokeswoman for Florida's Depar- tment of Children and Families, said they had launched an investigation.


She said they had to look at the issue of "supervision" but said the inquiry was not focusing on Jah-Nea's mother, who is understood not to have been looking after her at the time.

Ms Hoeppner added that the rescue really was a "miracle": "I spoke to Helen this morning, this child's guardian angel. She had already been phoned by a number of friends back home who had seen the story.

"It just goes to show heroes are just normal people who are capable of doing extraordinary things."

Jah-Nea's 20-year-old mother, Helena Myles, said: "She's perfectly fine. Not a scratch on her body. I'm thanking the Lord above right now for saving my child's life."

Ms Myles and her daughter, who live in Longwood, near Orlando, were staying at the Econo Lodge in adjoining rooms with friends from North Carolina. She left the toddler in the care of the friends, who did not notice she had slipped out of their room until they heard the sound of screaming.

"I'm not upset with anyone. I've had it out with my friends," she added. "But other than that, I'm thanking God right now that my child's here."

Irish Independent