New Delhi: Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama has won widespread praise after climbing the outside of a building to save a four-year-old in Paris.
A video showed him being cheered on by spectators as he pulled himself from balcony to balcony to the fourth floor to rescue a child hanging.
After meeting him at the Elysee Palace, President Emmanuel Macron said he would be made a naturalised citizen. He personally thanked Gassama, gave him a medal for courage and said he would also be offered a role in the fire service.
Gassama said he had been walking past when he saw a crowd gathered in front of the building.
When he saw the child dangling from the balcony, “I did not think, I saved him,” he said to a French broadcaster. “When I took him in my arms, I spoke with him and asked: ‘Why did you do that?’ But he did not answer.”
The Parisian fire service said crews had arrived to find the boy had already been rescued. “Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child,” a spokesman told AFP news agency.
Local authorities quoted by French media said the boy’s parents were not at home at the time. The father has been questioned by police on suspicion of leaving his child unattended, judicial sources say. It is believed that the mother was not in Paris at the time.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was among those to praise the 22-year-old’s heroism and said she had called him to thank him.
She referred to him as the “Spiderman of the 18th”, referring to the Paris district where the rescue took place, calling him an “example for all citizens”.