Malian ‘Spider-Man’ to be granted French citizenship

This article is more than 12 months old

Mother who lives in Reunion Island caught the dramatic rescue in Paris on the Internet

PARIS The family of the young boy saved by "Spider-Man" Mamoudou Gassama in a daring rescue, which won him global acclaim and a promise of French citizenship, has thanked the Malian for his quick thinking.

Mr Gassama, 22, scaled four storeys of an apartment block here on Saturday to rescue the four-year-old who was dangling from a balcony.

Yesterday, French authorities began the first steps towards making him a citizen in recognition of his bravery.

The boy's father, who had been living alone with him in Paris, had left him to go out to the shops and then stayed out to play Pokemon Go, according to French investigators.

The boy's mother learnt of the the rescue on Reunion - the French Indian Ocean island where she and the father were born and where she still lives.

Reacting to Mr Gassama's intervention on the radio late on Monday, the woman, who was not identified, said: "We can only thank him and thank heaven he was so reactive."

She said French police phoned her to tell her the news.

"Then I saw video on the Internet. But I should not have watched it because it is my son in the video."

Just half an hour earlier, she had spoken to both father and son in a video call, she said.

"Things could have turned out much worse so I am relieved," she said.

The boy's paternal grandmother, who also lives in Reunion, told RMC radio yesterday she was "moved" by the images of the rescue and sent "huge thanks" to Mr Gassama.

"He is really a hero," she said. "He did not stand by and watch, he saved my little sweet pea."

Mr Gassama, who had been living in France illegally since September last year, arriving via the Mediterranean migrant route, told French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday that he "did not think twice" before springing into action.

Yesterday, he was offered a job with the fire service.

The father, who was arrested on charges of neglecting his parental duties, was released and reunited with his son on Monday under supervision.

The mother said her husband, who is in his 30s, was "shaken" by the incident.- AFP