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Originally published Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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"Spider-Man" comes to 8-year-old's rescue in Thailand

A Thai firefighter put on a Spider-Man costume to rescue a superhero-loving 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.

BANGKOK — Spider-Man to the rescue!

Thai firefighter Somchai Yoosabai said on Wednesday he put on a Spider-Man costume to rescue a superhero-loving 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.

Somchai was called in after the 8-year-old boy's teachers and mother failed to coax him off the ledge on Monday, he said.

"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 superheros, Somchai rushed back to the fire station to change into a Spider-Man costume used to liven up fire drills at schools 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."

The teary-eyed boy broke into a smile and started walking into his arms, Somchai said,

The fictional Spider-Man was created by comic-writer Stan Lee in the early 1960s. The character gained worldwide popularity in recent years thanks to the trilogy of Hollywood films starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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