Bangalore, August 21: 'Aunty, Poorvaj fell down,' screamed said five-year-old Satya Kaushik from the balcony of his third floor apartment.
Twenty-two-month-old Poorvaj and his mother G Lakshmamma were visiting their neighbour K Sapna's flat opposite theirs on the third floor of the five-storey Chaithrashree Residence apartmentc complex on Bilekahalli Main Road, off Bannerghatta Road on Monday afternoon.
Lakshmamma rushed to the balcony only see her toddler son lying with his face down on the stone slab outside the main gate of the apartment. Lakshmamma rushed down, with Sapna and in tow.
The housewife put her son into a neighbour's car and drove to Fortis hospital, about 3 km from apartment. Poorvaj battled for life in vain. Around 3.30 pm, about three hours after the accident, doctors declared the child dead.
Poorvaj's father, Girish Babu, was not at home at the time of the accident. Girish works as a software engineer with Honeywell on Bannerghatta Road. Hailing from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh, Girish and Lakshmamma had shifted to Chaitrashree apartment in 2010.
Lakshmamma went to Sapna's flat around 12.30 pm. The two housewives sat down in the hall for a chat, as their children, Poorvaj and Satya headed to the balcony. Within minutes, Satya yelled about the accident to the two women. Channabasappa Hanumanna, security guard of the apartment, told TOI that he heard a loud thud followed by screams of Sapna and Lakshmamma.
"I was sitting near the gate when I heard the sound and saw the boy lying down. Before I could reach him, the two women came down and took the boy to hospital. The boy was not moving and blood was oozing out of his mouth and ears." Channabasappa said.
Police suspect that the child might have fell after getting through the balcony railings. The horizontal railings had ample space for a child to slip through, they said. But they did not rule out the chance of the kid climbing over the balcony and falling down.Deputy commissioner of police (south-east) PS Harsha said that the child fell down from a height of at least 30 feet. "He directly hit the rough stone slab laid in front of the main gate and sustained grievous head injuries," Harsha said.
First such tragedy in 2012
Poorvaj's is the first instance of a child or an adult falling from the balcony of upper floors with fatal consequences in 2012. The last year witnessed six such gruesome accidents.
Jan 8, 2011 Prajit Banerjee was so engrossed in a telephone conversation that he tripped over his seventh floor apartment's balcony railings and fell to his death on Bannerghatta Road. He was waiting for prospective buyers for his home when the accident happened.
April 11, 2011: Nayana Manoj (1) was playing with a cup and pen, when the cup went diving down the balcony. The little girl peeped through the gap between the railings of the balcony of her second-floor home in Srinivasa Nagar, keeled over, hit the ground and died.
April 28, 2011: Shalini M, 16, fell from the terrace of a two-storey building opposite her house and died. She was playing with her friends when the accident happened.
July 25, 2011: Eighteen-month-old Arman Kashyap died after he wriggled out of his mother's arms while she was feeding him near the open window of the passage in their house on the 9th floor of Adarsh Rhythm in JP Nagar. The toddler hit the roof of the porch below and was killed.
Aug 2, 2011: A two-year-old boy fell from the 3rd floor of his house at Shamanna Garden, Byatarayanapura. Mohammed Noor had climbed up to the 3rd floor through a grill gate on the 2nd floor. He was trying to climb on to the parapet wall when he slipped and fell.
September 24, 2011 Two-year-old Vandana C succumbed to her injuries after she fell from the balcony of her house in Vijayanagar. She was playing near the balcony railings and fell while collecting her toys.
What the law says
BBMP has specifications on the width of the balcony from second floor onwards (1.1 metres on the first floor and 1.7 metres or one-third of the setback whichever is lesser). But it is silent on the height of the balcony parapet walls or the permitted gap between railings used.
But the national building code for apartments in India suggest that every slab or balcony overlooking any exterior or interior open space which are 2 meters or more below shall be provided with parapet walls or guard rails of height not less than 1.20 meters. Building norms say that the railings should have a gap of not more than 15 cm between them.