Video: 'Spider-Man' rescues autistic boy

updated 3/25/2009 10:45:44 AM ET 2009-03-25T14:45:44

A Thai firefighter dressed as Spider-Man to rescue an autistic boy who climbed onto a third-floor balcony and dangled his legs over the side because he was nervous on his first day of school.

Firefighter Somchai Yoosabai was called in after the 11-year-old boy's teachers and mother failed to coax him off the ledge on Monday, he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

"He was nervous about the first day at school, and he was asking for his mother," Somchai said. "He cried and refused to let any of us get close to him."

Overhearing a conversation between the boy's mother and his teachers about his love for comics and superheroes, Somchai rushed back to the fire station to change into a Spider-Man costume before swinging into action.

"I told him Spider-Man is here to save you. No monster will hurt you now," Somchai said. "Then I told him to walk slowly toward me. I was very nervous that he might have slipped if he got too excited and ran."

Somchai, who keeps costume of Spider-Man and a Japanese superhero Ultraman to liven up fire drills at schools, said the teary-eyed boy broke into a smile and started walking into his arms.

The fictional hero was created by comic-writer Stan Lee in the early 1960s. The character regained its popularity in recent years thanks to the trilogy of Hollywood films starring Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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