Phillip Blanks, a former college football wide receiver, jumped into action to help save a toddler who was on the balcony of a burning building. In a shocking video, the 28-year-old can be seen running towards the fire before diving to catch a 3-year-old boy before he hit the ground.
The boy’s mother was screaming to another man on the ground to catch her son. When it didn’t look like the man was going to make the catch, Blanks dove into action.
“People were screaming ‘there are kids up there’ and to throw the kids down,” Blanks, who is a former Marine who played college football at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, said. “I saw another guy was standing there ready to catch the boy, but he didn’t look like he was going to do it, so I stepped in front of him. The way I caught him damaged his foot, but the most important thing is his head was safe.”
Unfortunately, the boy’s 30-year-old mother, Rachel Long, did not survive the fire.
“She’s the real hero of the story,” Blanks said. “Because she made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children.”
You can watch the shocking moment below.
Hero of the week, Philip Blanks caught a 3 year old falling from a 3rd floor balcony in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape when apartment was on fire. Unfortunately the mother didn't make it. pic.twitter.com/Mm3CHnaBTD
— The Mkhuluwa (@anda_bongoza) July 9, 2020
The young boy and his 8-year-old sister were critically injured in the blaze. As for Blanks, he says he hopes to “track those two children and their father down, and to help them as much as I can.”
Our deepest condolences go out to the family as they deal with this tragic and difficult time.
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