Bystanders Catch Children Jumping from Burning Apartment

The story below is an example of the main message of Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable. That message is that often in emergencies, effective aid depends on willing, competent bystanders because there is not enough time to wait the for standard “first-responders” to arrive.

(p. A12) As a plume of thick black smoke billowed from their burning apartment, a 10-year-old boy dangled a younger child from an open third-floor window, grasping on to the back of his shirt. The apartment’s balcony was engulfed in flames, and the two children appeared trapped.

Then, as onlookers screamed, the older boy dropped the younger one, age 3, into the arms of a group of adults 30 feet below. They caught him.

Moments later, the older boy lowered himself out of the window and jumped into the outstretched arms of those standing below. Both children were unharmed.

. . .

Two of the six adults who appeared to have participated in the rescue broke their arms, according to French news reports. All have been hailed as heroes.

. . .

It is not the first time that a dramatic rescue of a child dangling from an apartment has been caught on camera in France. In May 2018, Mamoudou Gassama, a 22-year-old Malian man, scaled four floors of a Paris building to save a toddler hanging from a balcony.

For the full story, see:

Elian Peltier. “Crowd Saved Two Children Who Leapt From Blaze.” The New York Times (Friday, July 24, 2020): A12.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date July 23, 2018, and has the title “Crowd Catches 2 French Children Who Leapt From Burning Apartment.”)

The book I mention above is:

Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why. New York: Crown Publishers, 2008.

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