A man who was hailed a hero after saving a child, who was dangling from a balcony in France, has joined the French fire brigade as well as receiving citizenship.
22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama arrived in France, joining his brother after leaving Mali as a teenager and travelling to the country via Libya and Italy.
He was granted legal immigration status after a video went viral, which showed him climbing up several storeys of a building in Paris, in order to save a four-year-old boy who was dangling from a balcony.
You can watch the footage here:
Quel courage .. bravo à ce jeune homme pour cet acte héroïque ??
Posted by Habib Bibou on Saturday, 26 May 2018
On Tuesday morning, (May 29), his immigration papers were fast-tracked after he met with France’s President, Emmanuel Macron who, praised his heroic efforts.
Nicknamed ‘Le Spiderman’, Gassama then visited a fire station to sign up for a 10-month-long internship with Paris’ fire and rescue service, which is expected to pay around €600 (£525) each month.
Macron thanked Gassama for potentially saving the young boy’s life last Saturday evening, (May 26), saying he’d be made a naturalised citizen.
With no legal documents, ever since he arrived in France, Gassama had been sleeping on the floor of a residence for migrants, sharing a room with six others.
Patrice Bessac, the Montreuil mayor, has now reportedly promised to rehouse him.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has also praised Gassama on Twitter, saying the city will help him settle in the country:
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.
Je suis très heureuse pour #MamoudouGassama. Le Président de la République a pris une belle décision en faveur de ce héros qui a sauvé à Paris la vie d’un enfant. J’y vois un signal positif de ce que la France peut réserver en matière d’accueil et de volonté d’intégration. https://t.co/SuIvpHtsUU
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) May 28, 2018
Spotting a small child dangling just out of reach of an adult, Gassama scaled four floors of the building with his bare hands at impressive speed.
It took only seconds for him to reach the child in a rescue which was captured on film.
Gassama told the French broadcaster BFMTV he reacted on instinct:
I did not think, I saved him. When I took him in my arms, I spoke with him and asked: ‘Why did you do that?’ But he did not answer.
I saw all these people shouting and cars sounding their horns. I climbed up like that and, thank God, I saved the child.
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.
When firefighters arrived at the scene the child had already been rescued.
The boy’s father, who has not yet been named, was reportedly out playing popular mobile game Pokemon Go!, while his son was clinging on for dear life.
Speaking to BFMTV, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins stated:
The father left the flat just as the incident was unfolding. He went shopping and then decided to play Pokemon Go! in the street which took a little time before he returned home.
The father is very upset because he realises what he did and what could have happened.
The child has now been taken into care by French authorities.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.