Paris ‘spider-man': The father of a child saved by a Mali immigrant as he dangled from balcony in Paris was “playing Pokemon Go” during his son’s dramatic rescue.
Mamoudou Gassana has been awarded for his bravery with papers to legalise his stay in France after scaling five floors on the outside of the building to grab the four-year-old boy.
French Prosecutor Francois Molins claimed the child’s father was playing the virtual reality smartphone game on his way back from the shops.
He told BFM TV that the boy’s dad had left the flat just as the incident unfolded.
The window had been left open and there was no safety grille to stop the child falling out, he added.
He said: “The father left the flat just as the incident was unfolding. He went shopping and then decided to play Pokemon Go in the street which took a little time before he returned home.
“The father is very upset because he realises what he did and what could have happened.”
French media reported that the father of the small child was detained for alleged parental neglect.
Mr Gassana Monday met President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace where he was awarded with a medal from the prefecture for “courage and devotion”.
He was offered the chance to stay in France legally and also given a job as a firefighter.
He has been dubbed “Spider-Man” for climbing up five floors, from balcony to balcony, and whisking the boy to safety on Saturday night as a crowd screamed at the foot of the building in Paris' northern 18th district.
The astonishing footage of Mr Gassama scaling the building and rescuing the child in just 30 seconds has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media.
However, he wants to join his older brother, who has lived in France for decades.
Mr Gassama, dressed in blue jeans and white shirt, recounted his experience which took place at around 8pm on Saturday when he and friends saw a young child hanging from a fifth-floor balcony. He and his friends had been on the way to watch the Champions League final.
“I ran. I crossed the street to save him,” he told Mr Macron during a filmed portion of the meeting.
He said he did not think twice, adding: “When I started to climb, it gave me courage to keep climbing.”
God “helped me” too, he said. “Thank God I saved him.”
The French president is toughening the nation's approach to immigration, and stressed that not all who make the treacherous journey to Europe can be welcomed, but that MrGassama's actions were admirable.
“You saved a child. Without you, no one knows what would have become of him,” the president said.
“You need courage and the capability to do that.”
Working as a firefighter corresponds with his skills, Mr Macron said, and opened the door for him to join.
“You have become an example because millions have seen you” on social media, the president said.