A schoolgirl has been hailed a hero after rescuing a boy who was drowning in a river – even though she can’t swim herself.

Eight-year-old Tierney Batt was playing at Moncreiffe Island in Perth when she spotted Cayden Paterson, 12, struggling in the River Tay, the Daily Record reports.

After his cries for help went unheard by adults, the youngster entered the river herself and managed to keep Cayden's head above water while they waited to be pulled to shore.

Cayden’s mother Kerry, from Crieff, Perthshire, praised her as “amazing” for saving her son’s life.

Kerry said: "She was incredibly brave, calm and simply amazing.

"For a young child she did something some adults might not have thought about.

"I can't express just how grateful I am - things could have been very different if she hadn't helped him.

Cayden Paterson was struggling in River Tay on Moncreiffe Island in Perth
Cayden Paterson was struggling in River Tay on Moncreiffe Island in Perth

"She put herself in a situation of danger too, so I'm just so happy they're both OK."

Tierney's father Greig was impressed by his daughter's quick thinking, but admitted he too was concerned for her safety.

He said: "I guess it was just her adrenaline that kept her going.

"Proud isn't the word.

"The whole family were so nice, they thanked us so much and Kerry sent me a message on Facebook just saying how grateful they were."

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While the incident ended well for all those involved, other swimmers have not been so lucky. Six people died across Scotland at the weekend in water incidents.

Ms Paterson has now issued a warning to other parents about the dangers open water can present.

She said: "The water might look still and you might think it's not too deep, but my son had his feet on the bottom of the river.

"All of a sudden it dropped and he couldn't touch the bottom, and there was an under current.

Tierney Batt's parents said they were proud of their 'incredibly brave' daughter
Tierney Batt's parents said they were proud of their 'incredibly brave' daughter

"Whether you're a good swimmer or not, you might not think it'll happen but the chance is still there and unfortunately I now know from experience.

"It terrifies me - especially as I saw only a week later, give or take, the same thing happened again."

Cayden is also taking a more cautious approach to the water following his accident.

His mother added: "He's saying he's not going back in the water again, he got a huge fright but physically he's OK."