FRANCE is halilng him a national hero. He’s had praise heaped on him by the mayor Paris. And a personal invite to visitthe French President.
And he’s only been in the country a few weeks.
Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama didn’t hesitate when he saw a toddler dangling from the fourth floor of a high-rise building yesterday.
The child was hanging by his hands from the balcony, with another man grimly trying to hold on from an awkward angle.
It took Mr Gassama just minutes to physically hoist himself from balcony to balcony, securing the toddler and hoisting him to safety.
“I saw all these people shouting, and cars sounding their horns. … I did it because it was a child,” the Le Parisian newspaper quoted Mr Gassama asa saying. “I climbed … Thank God I saved him.”
AFP also spoke to Mr Gassama: “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.”
The Paris fire department praised his rapid response: “Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child.”
Video footage taken by spectators below instantly went viral on French social media, and now the world.
The 22-year-old has won praise from Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who called him “Spider-Man of the 18th”. The number is a reference to the district of Paris where the rescue took place.
She told local media she had phoned Mr Gassama to thank him.
Congratulations to Mamoudou Gassama for his act of bravery that saved the life of a child,” the mayor tweeted.
“He explained to me that he had arrived from Mali a few months ago dreaming of building his life here. 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.”
Parisians have already established an online petition urging immigration authorities to expedite his application for residency.
He has also since received an invite from President Emmanuel Macron to the Elysee Palace.
French media reports the child’s parents were not at home at the time of the incident. The father is reportedly being questioned by police for leaving the child unattended. The mother was out of the city.
Originally published as ‘Spider-Man’ wows Paris with child rescue