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8-year-old boy survives 12-story fall down trash chute

An 8-year-old boy was taken to a hospital trauma center in serious condition after he fell down the garbage chute of a Honolulu high-rise apartment building, authorities said.

The boy apparently went through a trash chute Wednesday night at what used to be a public housing complex known as Kuhio Park Terrace in Kalihi, said Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright.

He had been reported missing and police later found him in a large trash bin, said police spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

He survived falling 12 floors, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Police have opened an injury investigation.

Hawaii law prohibits the state Department of Human Services from saying whether the boy's family has had any previous contact with its Child Welfare Services Branch.

But the department's director, Patricia McManaman, said in a statement the incident was a good opportunity to remind all parents and caregivers to keep a watchful eye over their young children.

Just last week, the 16-story complex celebrated a grand re-opening after a developer completed a $135 million renovation. It's now known as The Towers at Kuhio Park. While there are still public housing tenants, it's now also a mix of affordable and market rate units, said Laura Ochipinti Zaner, spokeswoman for New Jersey-based Michaels Development Co.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority selected the developer to renovate the 48-year-old complex and its 555 units.

"As for the incident involving the child and the trash chute, I can confirm that this did happen, and that we were very saddened to learn this, and are relieved and happy to know that the child is expected to be OK," Zaner said Thursday.

"We have been reaching out to the family to help them in any way that we can. We are assisting the police in their investigation and will be doing a full internal investigation of this incident as well," she said.

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