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Boy Who Was Late To School Becomes Hero (Photos)

One boy's school tardiness turned out to be a girl's miracle in disguise.

New Zealander Angus Pauley, then 17-years-old, was running late for school when he noticed a strange object bobbing up and down in the flooded Taylor River, reported.

Asking his confused and likely stressed Mom to pull over, the boy investigated further.

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When he realized what he saw was a young girl's head, all thoughts of getting to school on time flew away.

"I shouted out to the girl, 'Are you ok?' And she basically yelled back, 'I need my Mum!' And that's when I knew something was wrong," recalled Angus, One News reports.

Quickly, he threw off his clothes and began running after the girl while talking to her.

"She was screaming and I just kept talking to her saying 'don't worry, it's going to be OK, just keep your head up, keep breathing'," he said. "She was just panicking and I could hear her gargling water."

The sight startled bystander Jeremy McKenzie, who was at first baffled as to why there was a near-naked man running around.

''To tell you the truth, when I first saw Angus I thought the police must have been chasing him, and then I realized quickly that he was chasing a young girl in the river," recalls a laughing McKenzie, Stuff reports.

When it became clear he was trying to save a little girl, however, the strangers united.

Both men jumped into the river and managed to save the child's life.

"I told him to jump in and grab her and I would go downstream and grab them both," McKenzie said. "I knew there was a slower part of the river that had an eddy so we just needed to get her in there."

While Angus and the 12-year-old were hospitalized, they eventually were fine.

Many called McKenzie and Angus heroes afterwards.

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''Thankfully, as a result of the great work by Angus and Jeremy, we're not here discussing a tragedy; we're here discussing an event that had a very good ending,'' Sergeant Mark Lucas said. ''I think to put your own life at risk to save someone else's, when they're in perfect safety...definitely meets the criteria of hero in my books.''

The girl's parents say they were incredibly grateful to the two for their acts of heroism.

''We really can't thank you enough, from the bottom of our hearts,'' the girl's father's partner, Katie Broome, said. ''We just don't have the words.''

Sources:, One News/YouTubeStuff / Photo credits: Matt von Furrie via Wikimedia CommonsDerek Flynn/Fairfax NZ via StuffBlenheim Sun via New Zealand Herald

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