Limerick toddler who fell from sixth floor returns home

Neil Shanahan was branded ‘the flying boy’ after surviving drop from hotel balcony


A Limerick toddler who fell from a sixth-floor hotel balcony has returned home after spending five weeks in hospital.

Neil Shanahan, aged two-and-a-half, from Farranshone, has been branded “the flying boy” by his family and neighbours following his five-storey fall.

He was in a critical condition for 70 hours after the incident at the Strand Hotel in Limerick, and spent time in intensive care and a full body cast.

However, he is showing no signs of injury at this stage.

The boy’s mother, Martina Collins, said the fact Neil was not more seriously injured after the incident was “a miracle”.

“I believe I got a dig out, I really do,” she said. “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.”

“It is lovely to have us all back as a unit. It’s just so special, it’s a lovely time,” Ms Collins said.

Neil and his family, including father Michael and brothers Billy (1) and Martin (5), had been attending a coffee morning in the Strand Hotel last month when he ventured into a lift that took him to the sixth floor.

He then managed to make his way on to a rooftop balcony.

An eyewitness described seeing him dangling off large letters that spell out the hotel’s name, before losing his grip.

“It’s just unconscionable, and it’s just so overwhelming, from start to finish,” Ms Collins said.

Nurse’s aid

A nurse, who was visiting Limerick from the US, saw Neil land on the ground after his fall and came to his aid while the emergency services made their way to the scene.

“I just want to thank the woman who resuscitated him, she is an American nurse. I just saw her breath life back into him,” Ms Collins 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.”

Neil damaged one of his legs and his liver in the incident.

He is receiving physiotherapy and has to have his blood pressure checked daily following his release from hospital.

Neil’s family thanked staff at Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin, as well as neighbours and friends, for their help.

Seán Lally, general manager of the Strand Hotel, said he and his staff were “absolutely thrilled” that Neil was well on his way to a full recovery.

“The thoughts and prayers of the people of Limerick have definitely been answered on this occasion,” he said.