A pregnant woman became the symbol of horror and fright during the night of the devastating Paris attacks after she was filmed dangling from a window sledge on her fingertips, begging people for help.
The woman, one of the over 1,000 people attending Eagles of Death Metal rock concert at Bataclan theater, clung to the window for dear life while the lucky ones fled the concert hall 15 meters below and the terrorists continued to shoot the rest inside.
The harrowing video (posted above) went viral, and it turns out, both the woman and her unborn baby are “safe and sound” — thanks to the bravery of one stranger who came out of his own hiding place to drag her back into the building.
The pair was separated amid a torrent of gunfire, and the woman didn’t get to know her savior’s name until Monday, after her friend posted a message on Twitter to trace the rescuer. The tweet was shared widely on social media and soon enough, the man’s brother responded by email, and exchanged numbers with the pregnant woman.
The heroic stranger, who has refused to disclose his surname, is named Sebastien. He is also one of the people who were held hostage inside the theater.
“There were two windows in front of me,” Sebastein recalled the incident. “She was dangling from one of them, begging people below for help if she jumped. It was chaos down there as well. I climbed out through the other window and held on to an air vent 15 meters from the ground. I held on for five minutes and then the pregnant woman, who couldn’t cling to the window sill any longer, asked me to help her get back inside.”
Daniel Psenny, a journalist for newspaper Le Monde who lives opposite the Bataclan, captured the dramatic rescue and watched four masked militants armed with AK-47s march into the building.
As the Telegraph reports, Sebastien, along with several other concert-goers was held at gunpoint by the terrorist until the elite French police unit Raid managed to enter the theater.
“They smashed the door in with a battering ram and threw a stun grenade. When I saw a second stun grenade land near my feet, I knew it was time to flee,” Sebastien told local media. “I ran, the grenade exploded and the blast propelled me under the battering ram. All the Raid members went over the top. I was trampled but it was the happiest pain of my life. I was protected. I was alive.”
As for the pregnant woman, she too remains anonymous, but her friend Frans Torreele told The Huffington Post France that both she and her baby are doing well.
"She wanted to thank everyone who helped her, in particular the man who quickly held out his hand and helped her back up,” he said. “She was saved thanks to a succession of small gestures, a little bit of attention, and, in this moment of total craziness, these minuscule gestures accomplished big things.”
Perhaps people not losing their humanity and compassion during instances of such barbarism what keeping the world up and running in such terrifying times.
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