‘Spiderman’ Malian who climbed 4 storeys to save child to get French citizenship: Macron

Mr Mamoudou Gassama's quick climbing to reach the child, cheered on by terrified onlookers, went viral on social media.
Mr Mamoudou Gassama's quick climbing to reach the child, cheered on by terrified onlookers, went viral on social media.PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM TWITTER/FREDBC77

PARIS (REUTERS, AFP) - The young Malian migrant who saved a four-year-old child hanging from a fourth-floor Paris balcony after scaling the facade with his bare hands will be made a French citizen, President Emmanuel Macron said Monday (May 28). 

Mr Mamoudou Gassama, who met Mr Macron at the presidential palace 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 video of Mr Gassama's quick climbing to reach the child, cheered on by terrified onlookers, has had people calling the 22-year-old a real spiderman.

The incident took place at around 8pm on Saturday in northern Paris.

Film of the rescue shows Mr Gassama 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 neighbouring balcony.

On reaching the fourth floor, Mr 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 on Sunday (May 28) praised the heroism of Mr Gassama, saying the city will support his effort to settle in France.

"Congratulations to Mamoudou Gassama for his act of bravery that saved the life of a child," Ms Hidalgo said on her official Twitter account, adding that she spoke with him by phone to thank him.

Ms Hidalgo said Mr Gassama told her that he arrived from Mali a few months ago and wished to stay in France.

"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," Ms Hidalgo said.

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

 

Le Parisien newspaper reported that Mr Gassama was walking by when he saw a gathering in front of the building and leapt into action.

"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.