An Italian banker has been hailed a hero after miraculously catching a toddler who fell from a fifth-floor balcony in Turin.
Mattia Aguzzi, 37, was walking to a bakery with his girlfriend in the city centre on Saturday morning when he heard screams.
A three-year-old girl had climbed over the ledge of her family’s fifth-floor balcony.
“I heard a man scream when he saw the little girl leaning out on the ledge. The little girl kept leaning more and more and climbed over the ledge, she held on only with two arms and her legs were in the air,” Mr Aguzzi told Sky24.
“I started yelling at her to stay still and to go back inside but she didn’t hear.
“When I saw her fall I stepped in the way, closed my eyes and hoped that everything was going to be for the best, I blocked her by cushioning the blow and we both fell to the ground,” he said.
“Initially I didn’t feel any sign of life, then the baby started crying and I breathed a sigh of relief.”
Both the child and Mr Aguzzi were treated in hospital for “minor injuries”.
Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni said the girl’s story “could have turned into tragedy”.
“But thanks to the promptness of Mattia Aguzzi, who saw her fall and grabbed her in the air, her life is saved. Much honour and gratitude to this young hero,” she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The mayor of Turin, Stefano Lo Russo, has called for Mr Aguzzi to be honoured.
“The actions of Mattia Aguzzi, our fellow citizen who, catching [the girl] on the fly, saved the life of the little girl who fell from the fifth floor, is a heroic and extraordinary gesture,” he wrote on Facebook.
MEP Camilla Laureti also said she hoped he would be given a national medal.
“I propose that Mattia Aguzzi, who saved a girl who fell from the fifth floor, risking his own safety and probably his own life, be awarded the Gold Medal for Civil Valour!” she wrote on X.
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But Mr Aguzzi has refused the praise.
“Don’t call me a hero. I did everything so naturally. I didn’t think of anything and tried to do what had to be done,” he said, before joking that his extra weight helped him.
“In any case now they won’t tell me anymore that it’s better if I lose a little weight. It went well. What more could we want? Destiny put us there. Chance, fate. As far as I know, we’re all fine. And this, believe me, is the most beautiful thing.”
Italy’s civilian police force, the Carabinieri, are investigating the incident.
Source : https://news.sky.com/story/hero-saves-girl-3-who-fell-from-fifth-floor-balcony-in-italy-12949573