Mali 'spider-man' meets Macron: Lands job and French citizenship

Geraldine Edwards
May 29, 2018

A man who climbed four storeys to save a young boy dangling off a balcony has been hailed a hero after vision of his heroic feat went viral.

The facade of the Paris building scaled by a 22-year old Mamoudou Gassama from Mali to save a 4-year-old child dangling from a fifth-floor balcony.

"I did it because it was a child", Gassama told the newspaper.

He reached the child and lifted him to safety while still astride the topmost balcony. "Because France is a state of mind, and Mr Gassama has shown with determination that he has it!" But his older brother has lived in France for decades, and wants to join him there.

He jumped all the way to the fifth floor balcony to save the child. Pic Facebook
He jumped all the way to the fifth floor balcony to save the child. Pic Facebook

He said: "When I took him in my arms, I spoke with him and asked: 'Why did you do that?' But he did not answer".

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

The president shared photos of their meeting at the palace on his Facebook page, saying that the "Paris fire brigade would be keen to welcome him to their ranks".

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has personally congratulated the hero, who has been given the nickname Spiderman, while Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said "this act of vast bravery. must open the doors of our national community to him".

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Mr Gassama felt fear when he took the child into the apartment. "I climbed... Thank God I saved him".

Gassama arrived from Mali a few months ago with the dream of making a life for himself in France.

As for Mr. Gassama, he told French reporters that his act of courage had left him shaken.

A Malian immigrant may have a new job with the Paris fire department, and an official new nationality.

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"I ran. I crossed the street to save him", he told Macron.

Authorities are understood to have opened an investigation into the incident with local reports arguing the boy would not been in danger if his parents had been at home.

The child's father was held for questioning by police for allegedly leaving his son unattended to go shopping, Le Parisien reported.

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