A HEROIC security guard saved a young boy from serious injury after running to catch him as he fell from the top of a shopping centre escalator.
The five-year-old clambered over a child safety barrier at the West 12 centre in Shepherd's Bush, clinging on to the outside of the hand rail until it reached the upper level, to the horror of his watching family.
Eagle-eyed CCTV controller Subhan Adnan immediately called through to colleague Safdar Abbas, who was standing 30 metres away on the the other side of the mall.
Safdar sprinted towards the unfolding disaster – reaching the bottom of the escalator just as the boy lost his grip and plunged towards the hard floor.
He reached out and caught the youngster before toppling into a heap, and the pair escaped miraculously unharmed.
Now centre manger Jason King is putting the two men up for a team work award after reviewing astonishing CCTV footage of the fall.
Mr King said: "Two young boys were near the 'up' escalator in the north mall, and their mother and grandmother were just a few metres away.
"One of the boys suddenly grabbed hold of the escalator handrail and proceeded to hang on to the outside. Within seconds the boy had been carried almost to the first floor when he let go and fell.
"I'm just really relieved Safdar was in the right place at the right time. To have to run the whole length of the mall and at the end of it catch a child falling from an escalator it is no mean feat."
The family immediately returned to their home in the Peabody Estate in Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, and the boy's mother called the centre the following day to thank the security team for saving her son's life.
Safdar, 30, who has been working at the centre for more than two years, said having to catch the young boy on the evening of February 16 was unlike anything else he had experienced in the job.
He said: "I saw the child climbing on the escalator and I rushed towards him. Thank God I was there at the right time, because it was definitely a critical situation.
"From the moment he dropped I just did my best to make sure he wasn't hurt by anything and to keep him safe.
"It was the first incident like this in my life."