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13-year-old hero saves 4-year-old boy

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Lauriane Vofo Kana - Matthew Green - published on 09/11/21

The quick actions of a young teen ensured that a little boy made it home to his parents that day.

On Sunday, August 15, Loucia Pinto, a 13-year-old aspiring first responder, saved the life of a 4-year-old boy named Achilles.

According to French daily Sud Ouest, the young teen was out that morning with her mother driving on the streets of Mussidan in southwestern France, when suddenly they noticed a child descending stairs near a boat ramp into the river Isle, which borders the village.

“I’d gone shopping with my mother by car. We saw a child running on the road. We stopped, and found him by the water. We shouted, ‘No, don’t jump into the water.’ He looked at us, and he jumped in,” Loucia told reporter Marc Bertrand of France Bleu.

Without a moment’s hesitation, the schoolgirl jumped in while her mother called for help. The water was deep and had a strong current, but fortunately Loucia was able to bring the boy back to safety.

She was unable to retrieve the blanket the boy had been carrying when he entered the water and wanted to jump back in to get it, but her mother dissuaded her, given the dangerous currents.

The boy was scared but unharmed, and Loucia and his mother stayed with him until the fire department arrived and verified that no one was hurt.

“When Loucia took him out of the water I took him in my arms. I tried to reassure him. He didn’t speak, but I stroked his forehead and told him that everything was fine, that we would take care of him,” Loucia’s mother Valerie told France3.

It turned out that the child, who is autistic, had escaped from his home. He had wandered down the street to the river, crossing a dangerous intersection along the way. His distraught parents were understandably grateful to Loucia and her mother, who brought Achilles back.

Loucia gave him a blanket of her own to replace the one he lost. She told France Bleu that it was a comforter “which my father gave me when I was very young.” Her father died from cancer in 2020.

She told France3, “As I lost my father, I know what a life costs. I know that where he is, he is proud of me, as is my entire family.” 

France Bleu reports that young Loucia received a medal from the city from the hands of the mayor, Stéphane Triquart, as well as a letter of congratulations from the office of the President of France, on August 30.

In the future, Loucia would like to become a nurse or a firefighter, she told Sud Ouest. Whatever career she ends up following, she has already demonstrated her altruism and her willingness to take risks to save others.

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