'God helped me': French 'Spider-Man' saves dangling child after heroic climb

Arturo Kim
May 29, 2018

President Emmanuel Macron met with 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama on Monday to thank him personally after videos capturing the spectacular rescue went viral on social media over the weekend.

A real-life "spiderman" who climbed four storeys of an apartment building in Paris to save a child who was dangling from a balcony will be made an honorary French citizen, reports say.

Twenty-two year old Mamoudou Gassama, is an illegal immigrant now living in France according to a human-rights group.

The video shows Gassama swiftly pulling himself up from balcony to balcony to reach the boy, to the cheers of onlookers.

On Monday he was honoured by President Emmanuel Macron with a medal for bravery, the promise of citizenship and the offer of a job with the fire service.

"I did it because it was a child", French newspaper Le Parisien quoted Mr Gassama as saying.

The boy's paternal grandmother, who also lives in Reunion, told Radio Monte Carlo (RMC) Tuesday that she was "very moved" by the images of the rescue and sent "huge thanks" to Gassama.

The father of the rescued child was arrested by Paris police and is being questioned about leaving his son unattended.

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"I like children, I would have hated to see him getting hurt in front of me". He continued, "I just climbed up and thank God, God helped me".

BBC News reports he told the French president, "I just didn't have time to think".

"I managed to get up to the balcony above".

"He took a long time to return home because he had chose to play the smartphone game Pokémon Go when he left the store", Mollins said.

The father is being investigated for abandoning his parental responsibilities, according to a spokesman for the Paris prosecutor.

After receiving a resident's permit from local authorities, the 22-year-old, who had been living illegally in France since September, signed a contract to carry out an internship with the Paris fire service.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo praised Massama as an "example to all citizens" and the "Spider-Man of the 18th", referring to the district where the rescue took place.

"I saved the child and then went inside the building and I was shaking", he told Macron. I told him that in recognition of his heroic act he would have his papers in order as quickly as possible and that the Paris fire brigade would be keen to welcome him to their ranks.

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