Tributes have been paid to a selfless father who died after throwing himself into a river to save his stepdaughter from drowning.

Despite not being able to swim, a man named online as Reza wasted no time in jumping into the water after spotting his stepdaughter struggling to stay afloat.

Tragically a police report states Reza succeeded in saving a young life but lost his in the process.

A fundraiser has now been set up, apparently at the request of Reza's partner, to help raise enough money to fly his body back to his family in Iran.

At about 8pm on Tuesday, June 15, a concerned resident reported spotting several emergency vehicles speeding through Fore Street, Ivybridge in Devon, PlymouthLive reports.

River Erme
The River Erme in Devon where the father tragically died

The police and ambulance service were responding to a report of a man in the River Erme, trying to save a child who was struggling in the water.

Sadly, the man - who has been named locally as Reza - got into difficulty in the water, and after police and paramedics attended he was sadly pronounced dead.

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that the man's next of kin have been informed.

And following the tragic incident, a fundraiser has been set up on behalf of the man's family, which will be used to fly him home to Shiraz in Iran.

In a statement on the fundraising page, a friend of Reza's said: "On Tuesday, 15th June 2021, Reza's stepdaughter got into some difficulty in the River Erme, located in Long Timber Woods, Ivybridge.

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"Being the hero Reza was, he jumped in and saved her, but unfortunately was unable to save himself as he was a non-swimmer.

"This goes to show how selfless Reza was, and he showed this every day. He leaves behind his girlfriend and 19-month old little girl, as well as lots of friends and colleagues who all saw him as family.

"We are trying to raise funds so Reza can be flown to his home country, to be laid to rest in peace with the presence of the rest of his family."

The friend went on: "We are also wanting to hold a memorial service for Reza here in Ivybridge so all who knew him can show their love and respect for him.

"Any donations will be greatly appreciated. Anything extra will go towards helping his girlfriend and their little girl.

"Thank you."

If you would like to donate to the fundraiser, click here.