A mother and her three children managed to flee a fire raging through a South Korean apartment block after she dropped them out of the window.

The 30-year-old, who then jumped out of the high-rise burning building herself – survived the four-storey drop thanks to passing US soldiers who used blankets to catch the woman and the youngsters, aged one, three and four.

The rescue, filmed by a witness on a mobile phone in Pyeongtaek, shows the mother dropping the children one-by-one as thick, black smoke billows from two floors below.

Onlookers scream and hold up their hands as each terrified child is held out of the window, legs dangling, before free falling down the side of the building to safety.

“She was at the window, holding the baby out the window, and then everybody just started getting blankets,” said Master Sgt Michael Henry.

Michael Henry meets a South Korean family

The family, from Nigeria, meet their rescuers. Pic: YTN

His colleague 1st Sgt Melanie Scott added: “The lady just started dropping her babies down. At first you could tell she was scared, she didn’t want to.”

Master Sgt Daniel Raimondo told CNN they had to persuade the mother to drop her children.

“The last baby was the most difficult in my eyes. She just wouldn’t let her go for some reason. I just remember looking at her through all the turmoil and commotion going on. I just begged her ‘please throw the baby down’.

“I just remember her screaming at the baby, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’.”

He described the smoke from the fire as “horrendous” as the mother jumped.

“You could barely even see her at that point,” he added.

The children’s father, Prince Enyioko, who was out at the time, thanked the soldiers for saving his family.

He said: “I don’t know how I would explain my thanks because I was so surprised. I see the people gathering here to rescue my family, especially the military.”