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An 11-year-old boy has been hailed a hero after jumping into the sea to save a toddler.

Eli Harrison sprang into action when he saw the child in the harbour near his home in Staithes, North Yorkshire.

His mother, Kayleigh, said: “He is a hero. He just says ‘I did what anyone else would have done, Mum’.”

She said Eli swam to the shore with the boy, who was hanging on to a fishing net and had been out of sight from his parents for a “split second”.

Mrs Harrison said the drama unfolded on Friday 7 August after she had gone to the beach with her husband, Ian, and their three children.

They spotted the child floating among the boats about 33ft (10m) away.

She said Eli was so fast off the mark he had jumped off the pier and into the sea before anyone else had a chance to react.

“He still doesn’t get what he’s done,” Mrs Harrison said.

“He still thinks that going around saving people is quite normal.”

‘Sea in his blood’

The toddler’s grateful family gave Eli £10 and the toddler is understood to have fully recovered.

Healthcare assistant Mrs Harrison said Eli had lived in Staithes all his life and loved everything to do with the sea.

“He just wants people to remember not to take their eyes off their bairns because it all happened so quickly,” she said.

Mrs Harrison said her son was an “amazing swimmer” and would like to be a lifeboat volunteer when he is older.

His great-grandfather and grandfather were local fishermen and Eli has the sea “in his blood”, she added.

The incident happened just a week after a 10-year-old boy was swept out to sea 25 miles down the North Yorkshire coast at Scarborough.

Ravi Saini was rescued after surviving for more than an hour using floating advice he had remembered from a BBC TV documentary.

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