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'Miracle' baby survives 11-story fall in Minneapolis

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Apartments
The Cedar-Riverside apartments in Minneapolis.
Chris Roberts/MPR News

A 1-year-old boy who reportedly fell from the 11th floor of a building in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis Sunday has survived and is in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The baby, Musa Dayib, has multiple fractures in his spine, arms and ribs, and had a concussion. He also has a punctured lung, said Christine Hill, spokeswoman for the hospital and its Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center.

Dr. David Templeman, orthopedic surgeon at Hennepin County Medical Center, who operated on the baby's elbow and put a cast on the wrist of his other arm, said usually a fall from the 7th floor or higher results in death.

"I think it's a miracle that he survived," Templeman said. "Usually an adult (falling from) about seven floors will not make it. Above seven stories is where survival starts to become very questionable."

The way the baby landed on the ground -- and not concrete or pavement -- also helped his case, he said.

Templeman said he expects the arm fractures to heal in about six to eight weeks. The baby's young skeleton also helped keep the injuries from becoming too severe, he said. 

''At this point in time, the bones are partially cartilage, so they can absorb shock a little bit better," Templeman said. "They're not as brittle as we get in older life. And he will heal much, much more rapidly than an adult."

Police aren't releasing many details about the incident. They say officers were dispatched to a building in Minneapolis shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday on a report that a child had fallen from a high rise building, reportedly one of those in the Riverside Plaza development.

Police found Minneapolis fire fighters attending to the child, surrounded by a crowd estimated at 100 onlookers.

The father of the child was also at the scene and told police that the child had fallen from the 11th floor, police said.

While it's still not clear if the child slipped through or climbed over the top of the railing at Riverside Plaza, the apartment building is up to code, Minneapolis officials said Tuesday. 

The railing on the apartment's balcony is 47 inches high and the balusters are 5.5 inches apart, which exceeded requirements at the time Riverside Plaza was built, said Patrick Higgins, the city building official in charge of permits and inspections.

Today's code mandates narrower baluster openings but upgrades were not required during a recent renovation, Higgins added.

"They did not rebuild their balconies or their decks at the time, and the existing conditions did not warrant orders to reduce those sizes down," he said.

MPR News reporter Matt Sepic contributed to this report.