3Mamoudou Gassama said he “didn’t have time to think” when he sprung into action to save the child dangling from the fourth-story balcony of a building.
Mamoudou Gassama said he was just walking by the apartment building when he noticed a crowd gathered in front, and without thinking, he quickly sprung into action in an effort to save the child, completely disregarding his own safety.
Gassama told French President Emmanuel Macron, “I just didn’t have time to think, I ran across the road to go and save him. I just climbed up and thank God, God helped me. The more I climbed the more I had the courage to climb up higher, that’s it.”
By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, they found out the child had already been rescued. If it weren’t for Gassama, the child would have likely fallen and met a tragic fate. “Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child,” a spokesperson for the fire department said.
Video footage of the rescue shows Gassama pulling himself up from balcony-to-balcony with his bare hands as a man on the fourth floor desperately tries to hold on to the child by leaning across from a neighboring balcony. One witness told Le Parisien, “There is a fence and a gap between them… The neighbor could not afford to lean back to get the child himself.”
After reaching the fourth floor, Gassama hiked his leg over the balcony before reaching out with his right arm and grabbing the child. After all was said and done, the only injury the boy suffered was a torn toenail, while Gassama only suffered a few scratches.
“I saw all these people shouting, and cars sounding their horns. I climbed up like that and, thank God, I saved the child,” Gassamt told French reporters. “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.”
Asked why he took such a huge risk to save the boy, Gassama told French newspaper Le Parisien (according to a translation from the Daily Mail), “I did it because it’s a child.”
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo praised the young migrant on Twitter for his “act of bravery.” She also reportedly called him personally to “thank him warmly.”
Mayor Hidalgo said, “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.”