Over the weekend, a Malian immigrant saved a 4-year-old French boy dangling from a Paris balcony from falling to his death.
In heart-pounding footage of the rescue, Mamoudou Gassama, 22, can be seen scaling four stories in about 30 seconds to save the child, whose father had left him unattended to go run an errand, according to initial police reports.
Gassama used his bare hands to pull himself up from balcony to balcony as a neighbor on the fourth floor tried to hold on to the child by leaning across an adjacent balcony. One witness told Le Parisien that “the neighbor could not afford to lean back to get the child himself,” as there was “a fence and a gap between them.”
Watch the incredible rescue:
When Gassama finally reached the fourth floor, he swung one leg over the balcony before extending his right arm and plucking the child from the ledge. By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, the child was already safe, suffering only a torn toenail. Gassama himself suffered only a few scratches.
An investigation into the incident is now underway, the Daily Mail reported.
Gassama earned the nickname “Spiderman” for his heroic actions, and French President Emmanuel Macron was so moved that he insisted on meeting him in person. During a one-on-one meeting at the Elysee Palace on Monday, Macron announced that Gassama will be awarded French citizenship for his efforts. He also offered the Mali native a job as a firefighter.
Avec M. GASSAMA qui a sauvé samedi la vie d’un enfant en escaladant 4 étages à mains nues. Je lui ai annoncé qu’en reconnaissance de cet acte héroïque il allait être régularisé dans les plus brefs délais, et que la brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris était prête à l’accueillir. pic.twitter.com/xMpFlP1UFe
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 28, 2018
“Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child,” a fire service spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
— Pompiers de Paris (@PompiersParis) May 29, 2018
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted her praise for Gassama’s “act of bravery,” and called him personally to “thank him warmly.”
Un grand bravo à Mamoudou Gassama pour son acte de bravoure qui a permis de sauver hier soir la vie d'un enfant. J'ai eu plaisir à m'entretenir avec lui aujourd'hui par téléphone, afin de le remercier chaleureusement. https://t.co/DP5vQ1VZYh
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) May 27, 2018
“He explained to me that he had arrived from Mali a few months ago dreaming of building his life here,” Hidalgo added in a separate tweet. “I told him that his heroic act is an example to all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be very keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France.”
Speaking to reporters after the life-changing incident, Gassama said he had acted out of pure instinct.
“I saw all these people shouting, and cars sounding their horns. I climbed up like that and, thank God, I saved the child,” he said.
“I felt afraid when I saved the child … [when] we went into the living room, I started to shake, I could hardly stand up, I had to sit down,” he added.
The child’s parents were not home at all during the time of the incident, according to initial reports. The father of the 4-year-old was later held for questioning by police and is due in court later. The mother of the child was not in Paris when the incident occurred.
(H/T: Daily Mail)