Quick-thinking US service personnel saved the lives of a mother and her children from a burning building in South Korea by grabbing a blanket and using it to catch them as they jumped four storeys from a window. Dramatic video footage showed the moment a mum dropped her small children into the blanket before making a leap of faith herself. Two other women were involved in the dramatic escape and all were unharmed.
The terrifying incident took place in the city of Pyeongtaek 60 km (37 miles) south of South Korea's capital Seoul on Friday (29 April). Precious Enyioko, 30, was trapped in the burning block in Songtan shopping district with her children aged four, three and seven months as smoke billowed all around. Then passing servicemen and women from nearby Osan Air Base took charge.
US Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Raimondo said he and another colleague got the blankets from a nearby shop then corralled a group to hold them beneath the window. They persuaded her to drop the first two children whom they caught but the third did not want to be dropped and started to struggle in its terrified mother's arms.
"She just wouldn't let them go," Raimondo told CNN. "I remember looking at her though all the turmoil and commotion. I just begged and pleaded with her, 'Please throw the baby down.' And I remember her screaming at the baby 'I love you, I love you, I love you.'
"The next thing you know, she's dropped the baby. And of course at the end, the mother had to come down. You could barely even see her at that point. The smoke and fire was horrendous. I was just shouting, 'You have to jump, you have to jump'."
Precious landed heavier than her children but someone had put cushions underneath the blanket and she was unharmed. "It was so difficult to drop my children," she told DVIDS website. "It was so dark in the room and the kids were coughing and crying. When I saw the people gathering with the blanket, I could see it was military members, I thanked my God."
Her husband Prince Enyioko, who like his wife is from Nigeria, expressed his gratitude to the service crew for their prompt actions. "I don't know how I would explain my thanks," said Prince. "I was so surprised, I see the people gathering here to rescue my family, especially the military."