From safe to safety: Boy, 8, saved after desperate race to free him from airtight strongbox

Posted on 12:43 PM by Sameer Shah

As little Cihan Sevinc played with his friends in front of a shop selling safes, the big, dark box sitting on the pavement probably looked like the best hiding place in the world.

But when the eight-year-old was pushed in and the heavy door closed behind him, Cihan and his pals could never have realised the trouble he was in.

An eyewitness, in the Turkish capital Istanbul, said: 'I saw the children playing. Then they put the boy in the vault and closed the door. I rushed and called the police.'

Officers tried to contact the shop owner to get the keys so they could release the little boy, but learned that he was away for the weekend.

The fire brigade arrived on the scene and emergency workers set to work.

First, they tried an angle-grinder.

When that failed to make any impression, a sledge hammer and a giant chisel were produced and the biggest,strongest fireman had a go.

When that didn't work, the firefighters got a hydraulic jack out - the type used to free car crash victims.

With little Cihan's air beginning to run out - and his ears ringing from the emergency crew's increasingly desperate efforts to free him - finally they made a breakthrough.

Cihan could be seen crouching, his fingers stuck in his ears. As cheering onlookers applauded, a firefighter lifted the boy out.

He was placed on a stretcher and carried to an ambulance. Apart from a graze close to his left eye, the eight-year-old was none the worse for his experience.

Only time will tell if he will suffer from claustrophobia - fear of enclosed spaces - in later life.

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