NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A child with special needs is clinging to life in a Bronx hospital after he fell out a ninth-floor window.

The window the seven-year-old boy fell from has an air conditioning unit in it, with an accordion-style guard on one side only.

On the other was flimsy cardboard, covering the space police believe the boy squeezed through to fall nine stories Saturday.

Residents of other apartments on the floor heard the boy’s family members screaming.

“I heard the mother saying my boys through the window, the window,” one neighbor told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

It was just before 11 a.m. Saturday morning on Harrod Avenue in a building that is part of Soundview’s Bronx River Houses.

Rescuers had to get past a construction fence to get to the critically injured boy, who was found on a patch of grass.

One neighbor says he saw the boy after the fall and that he appeared to be conscious.

“Rushed them to Jacobi, the police followed like a parade,” Jimmy Graham said.

CBS2 met with a family friend as she returned to the building from the hospital, where she said the boy was in surgery for a severe head injury.

Neighbors told Dave Carlin they know the family well and say the boy has special needs.

“He had syndrome… Down syndrome,” a neighbor named Alicia said.

Another neighbor said her own special needs son and the victim are good friends. The woman, who asked not to be identified, believes the boy would not have known how dangerous the window was.

She describes the boy’s parents as attentive and caring; saying they were both home for what she calls a devastating accident.

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