A former US marine and college football player saved the life of a three-year-old child who was thrown from a burning building by his mother.

Phillip Blanks caught the child as she threw him off a balcony when a fire broke out at an apartment in Phoenix, Arizona on July 3.

The last-second rescue was caught in dramatic video, in which Blanks can be seen diving to catch the child before he hit the ground.

"Ultimately, this is my job," Blanks told MLive.com. "It was all fast, it was a blur. It was tunnel vision as I was running. I didn’t see anything but the baby."

The three-year-old and his eight-year-old sister were taken to the hospital. Their mother, who threw the toddler from the balcony, died in the fire.

Join our official WhatsApp group