Leeds United first team coach James Beattie helped rescue two young children and their mother from a yacht after it collided with a ferry.
The former England striker leapt into action when he heard a woman shout out ‘get my children off’ as she feared the 25ft yacht was about to sink.
The 38-year-old and three other passengers jumped a barrier at the end of the small car ferry, rushed forward to the edge of a ramp and hauled the crying children to safety.
Their shaken mother was then helped off the stricken yacht.
A passing boat threw a line to man left on board, thought to be the father of the children, and towed it clear in time.
The incident happened when the pleasure craft collided with the front of the Sandbanks to Studland chain ferry in Poole Harbour, Dorset.
Mr Beattie was visiting Dorset and got out of his parked car to help.
Ashley Jacobs, who was in a small boat in Poole Harbour, later tweeted former Southampton player Mr Beattie afterwards, saying: ‘Hats off to you mate, I was on the red boat. Did well to get the kids off...top stuff.’
Mr Beattie, a father of three, replied: ‘Current too strong for that little yacht. Glad the family are OK. Acted on instinct while too many people get their phones out to video. Crazy!’
Mr Jacobs told the Daily Mail: “We saw a small yacht getting dragged into the chain ferry.
‘We are just a small boat so we couldn’t offer a tow but we stayed on standby just in case one of the children went into the water.
‘I saw a number of people on the chain ferry rushing to help, one of which was James Beattie.
‘He got hold of the children when other people were just standing about watching, so credit to him for that. ‘He leant over the edge and got the children to safety. He did really well.”