Migrant risks his life to save child dangling from a balcony in Paris
Mamoudou Gassama scaled a Paris building to rescue a child dangling from a balcony. He has been hailed as a hero for his exceptional act.
Video of the rescue showed the young Malian migrant climbing up four floors of the apartment building to save the 4-year-old child. The incident took place in May 2018.
Gassama, 22, had already pulled the child to safety by the time Parisian emergency services arrived at the scene.
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As reported by CNN, French President Emmanuel Macron invited Gassama to the Élysée Palace.
Gassama was awarded a certificate and a gold medal for showing an act of heroism and dedication.
"I didn't think about it, I climbed up and God helped me," he told Macron.
Gassama admitted that he became frightened and began shaking when he reached the apartment.
When the president asked him how the child was when he was rescued, he responded: "He was crying because he was hurt."
In an interview with CNN-affiliate BFM TV following the rescue, Gassama said he had been in the neighborhood to watch a football match in an eatery when he noticed the commotion.
"I like children, I would have hated to see him getting hurt in front of me," he said.
"I ran and I looked for solutions to save him and thank God I scaled the front of the building to the balcony."
In the footage, the neighbors on an adjoining balcony can be seen trying to pull the child to safety.
The child's father was out shopping when the incident happened, according to judicial sources.
The spokesman for the Paris prosecutor said the father is being investigated for breaking his parental responsibilities.
According to the spokesman, though the father is no longer in custody, he will be sentenced in September. The child has been placed in care.
Anne Hidalgo, the Paris Mayor, said on Twitter that he called Gassama to thank him. She also congratulated him on his act of bravery.
"He explained to me that he arrived from Mali a few months ago with the dream of making a life for himself here," she wrote. "I replied that his heroic act is 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."
The Paris fire brigade also tweeted: "[Gassama] shares the values of the Paris fire brigade. We are ready to welcome him."