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Miracle Survivor: AC Unit Falls 15 Stories Onto N.J. Man

40-Pound Machine Literally Split Esidras Valles' Head Wide Open
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Esidras Valles

Esidras Valles spoke to CBS 2 one day after being struck on the head by a 40pound air conditioner that fell from the 15th floor of the New Jersey building he was working near. Valles was to be released from the hospital on Nov. 12, 2010. (Photo: CBS 2)

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WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (CBS 2) — He is lucky to be alive.

A New Jersey man survived an air conditioning unit crashing into his face. Doctors said they have never seen someone recover so quickly from a severe injury like this, which literally cut his head open.

CBS 2’s Christine Sloan spoke to the man from his hospital bed on Thursday.

Doctors at Jersey City Medical Center said they have never seen someone recovery so quickly from a head injury like this.

It was just Wednesday when an air conditioning unit came crashing down on the man’s head, leaving him in critical condition. But on Thursday night he told Sloan he’s being released from the hospital on Friday morning.

Doctors said by all accounts Esidras Valles shouldn’t be alive, sitting up or letting them examine him. But the 24-year-old has defied all odds.

“He doesn’t know what happened. He just realized when he woke up in the hospital. His brother told him that an air conditioning unit fell on him and he was unconscious,” Valles’ translator, Bryan Pareja, said.

That air conditioning unit came crashing down — 15 stories — from a window at a New Jersey apartment complex, right on top of Valles’ face, splitting his head open.

He needed hundreds of stitches and a liter of blood.

“He had multiple lacerations,” Dr. Sapan Majmundar said. “Starting from his eyebrow, going directly across the back of his face, facial fracture.”

“The whole right side hurts, just a little numb, mostly the head area,” Valles said through his translator.

Valles, who moved here from California a month ago to stay with his brother, was working next to the West New York apartment complex when the 40-pound air conditioner slammed on his head.

“From the height that this air conditioner fell on he feel definitely that somebody was watching over him,” the translator said.

Building managers were out for the holiday on Thursday but they’ve said a rule requiring brackets on units was passed late in the summer, after many air conditioners had already been placed in windows.

As for Valles, doctors said just an inch away he could have been dead. Still, his recovery from this injury is nothing short of a miracle.

“At this level, we have never seen someone progress this well,” Dr, Majmundar said.

Valles’ wife was flying in from California on Thursday to be by his side. He told Sloan that he wanted to see his 8-year-old but his wife didn’t have enough money to buy two plane tickets.

Police were trying to determine who owned the air conditioner.

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