Paris balcony boy family thank Mali ‘Spiderman’ Mamoudou Gassama

The family of a small boy dramatically rescued after dangling from a balcony in Paris, France have expressed their thanks to the Malian man who saved him.

“He’s truly a hero,” the boy’s grandmother said of migrant Mamoudou Gassama, who scaled four floors to pluck the child from danger.

The four-year-old’s father, who had left him in their flat and gone shopping, faces charges of failing to look after his child, reports say.

Mr Gassama will be given citizenship.

French President Emmanuel Macron personally thanked him, gave him a medal for courage and said he would also be offered a role in the fire service.

More details have begun to emerge of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Why was the boy on the balcony?

The boy left Réunion, where his mother and grandmother live, about three weeks ago and moved to Paris to join his father, who works in the city. His mother and the couple’s second child were due to join them in June.

The father lived on the sixth-floor of the building in northern Paris, the building’s concierge told BFMTV

The boy had already fallen two storeys before somehow managing to grab hold of the fourth-floor balcony, according to this version of events.

When asked by a resident in the neighbouring fourth-floor flat where he lived, he is reported to have pointed upwards.

His mother told Antenne Réunion that the boy’s father was not used to looking after him on his own and had left him alone before.

“I can’t justify what my husband did. People will say it could have happened to anyone and it has happened to other people. My son was just lucky,” she said.

After doing the shopping, the boy’s father had delayed going home to play Pokemon Go, prosecutors said.

Could the neighbour have done more?

Some reaction to the incident has focused on a man on the balcony of the neighbouring fourth-floor flat, who appears to be close enough to the boy to lift him before Mr Gassama arrives.

But the neighbour told Le Parisien newspaper that  because of a divider separating the two balconies.

“I didn’t want to take the risk of letting go of his hand, I thought it better to do things step by step,” he said.

He said the boy had been wearing a Spiderman outfit, was bleeding from his toe and had a torn nail.

Firefighters came into his flat and climbed over the balcony divider to reach the boy and Mr Gassama, he said.

Where is the boy now?

He has been taken into care by the French authorities, French media said.



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