Migrant 'Spider man' hailed for scaling building to save child in spectacular Paris rescue

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 28.05.2018 11:31
Updated 28.05.2018 12:18
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with Mamoudou Gassama from Mali, at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 28, 2018 (EPA Photo)
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with Mamoudou Gassama from Mali, at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 28, 2018 (EPA Photo)

A young Malian man was hailed a hero after he sprang into action to save a four-year-old child hanging from a fourth-floor balcony by single-handedly scaling the facade of the building and hauling the youngster to safety.

Without a thought for his own safety, Mamoudou Gassama took just seconds to reach the child in a spectacular rescue captured on film and viewed millions of times on social networks.

He will be made a French citizen, President Emmanuel Macron said Monday.

Mamoudou Gassama, who met with Macron after a video of his rescue went viral on social media, will also be offered a place in the fire brigade, the president added.

The incident took place at around 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) Saturday in northern Paris.

The recording of the rescue shows Gassama, 22, pulling himself up from balcony to balcony with his bare hands as a man on the fourth floor tries to hold on to the child by leaning across from a neighboring balcony.

On reaching the fourth-floor Gassama puts one leg over the balcony before reaching out with his right arm and grabbing the child.

Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the child had already been rescued.

"Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child," a fire service spokesman told AFP.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo praised the young migrant on Twitter for his "act of bravery" as well as phoning him personally to "thank him warmly."

"Congratulations to Mamoudou Gassama for his act of bravery that saved the life of a child," Hidalgo said, adding:

"I replied that his heroic gesture was an example for all citizens and that the City of Paris will obviously be keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France," Hidalgo said.

"He explained to me that he had arrived from Mali a few months ago dreaming of building his life here.

"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," she added.

French minister and former government spokesman Christophe Castaner also took to Twitter to say how admirable it was that Gassama stepped forward to save a life without giving any thought for his own.

The young Malian will next be honored for his brave rescue by French President Emmanuel Macron who has invited him to the Elysee Palace Monday, his office told AFP.

Tracked down by reporters 24 hours after the heroic rescue, Gassama said he had acted without thinking.

"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.

According to initial inquiries by the authorities, the child's parents were not at home at the time.

The father was later held for questioning by police for having left his child unattended and was due in court later, a judicial source said. The child's mother was not in Paris at the time.

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