CAMPAIGNERS are calling for officials to regularise the immigration status of a Senegalese man who saved the life of a pensioner who fell into a river.
Mouhammad Diouf, 43, was one of three migrants who jumped into the Nervion River in Bilbao, northern Spain last week to save the 72-year-old man who lost consciousness.
The rescue was caught on camera and posted on the social media site TikTok.
“He wasn’t breathing. I threw myself in and I turned him round. I almost drowned myself,” said Mr Diouf.
“He only had a few minutes left. In two minutes, he was going to die. I am just pleased that we could help this poor man.”
More than 41,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the undocumented Senegalese migrant to be given legal papers because of this act of bravery.
“We want Mouhamed [sic] Diouf to be granted the papers that will allow him to continue his life in our country legally and comfortably, without fear of being detained and deported,” read the petition, launched by the group Wolof for Women Who Love Senegal. Wolof is the most commonly spoken language in Senegal.
Once out of the water, the man was taken to hospital and was in a stable condition.
“People said this man was dying in front of me. I saw that I could help him so I had to help,” Serigne Sene, another of the rescuers, told La Sexta, a Spanish television station.
An off-duty police officer also jumped into the river to help save the man on Sunday 20 June. The pensioner had reportedly been feeling unwell and leaned on a railing of Ribera Bridge before fainting and falling in.
Spanish bystanders can be heard shouting “rapido” (quick) and “muy bien” (very good) as the group get the unconscious man safely to shore.
The video has had more than 200,000 views on TikTok.
- Migrant who wants Africans to stay at home wins top award in Spain
- Expat in Spain or immigrant: Is there a difference?