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Hero climbs side of building to save child dangling from 4th story balcony

French President Emmanuel Macron (left) speaks with Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, on Monday at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris. Gassama is being honored by Macron for scaling an apartment building over the weekend to save a 4-year-old child dangling from a fourth-floor balcony. (Thibault Camus/AFP/Getty Images)

A Malian man is being hailed as a hero for saving a child in Paris from the balcony of a fourth-story apartment.

The 4-year-old had been left home alone, when he climbed or fell over the apartment balcony and ended up hanging from the outside of it. Neighbors in the apartment next to him could not reach over far enough to pull the child to safety.

Mamoudou Gassama, who was granted French citizenship due to his heroics but who at the time was in the country illegally, saw a crowd gathering in the street below, and realized the danger that the child was in. With speed and agility that has earned him the name "spiderman" on social media, Gassama climbed from one balcony to the next before pulling the child to safety with one arm.

The 22-year-old Gassama told French President Emmanuel Macron that when he reached the child, "he was crying because he was hurt."

Macron personally met with Gassama at Elysee Palace, and awarded him a medal for his courage. Macron also told Gassama that he would be made a naturalized citizen for what he did. Gassama reportedly arrived in France last year, after crossing the Mediterranean and arriving in Italy.

Gassama told Macron that when he saw the child, "I just didn't have time to think, I ran across the road to go and save him."

He continued, "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."

Gassama has also been offered a position on the Paris fire brigade. The fire brigade tweeted: "Mamoudou shares the values of the Paris fire brigade. We are ready to welcome him."

The child's father, who had left the 4-year-old alone at the time of the incident, is being investigated by authorities to determine if he is guilty of neglect. The child has been placed in protective custody.


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