TWO teenage Taunton schoolboys have been hailed as heroes for saving the life of a body boarder swept out to sea.

Gabriel Baldegger and Joe Neeve did not hesitate when they spotted a man in trouble 100 metres from the shore.

The Taunton School students had been enjoying an evening on the beach at Perran Sands, in Cornwall.

They dived into the water and swam out to reach the man, who had been caught up in a rip tide, while onlookers contacted the RNLI.

When the intrepid duo reached the man, they held him afloat as they swam back towards the beach.

They were all three picked up by the St Agnes lifeboat.

The rescued man has written to thank Gabriel and Joe for their actions on August 9, calling them "heroes".

And his grateful wife, who frantically watched the drama unfold along with the couple's three young children, called them "thoughtful and selfless".

Taunton School deputy headmaster Ed Burnett said: "The whole school community is incredibly proud of Joe and Gabriel, particularly their selfless instinct of wanting to help someone in trouble."

The St Agnes lifeboat crew said the boys would be "welcome on any RNLI team" and praised them for calming the stricken body boarder.

The crew praised the boys' willingness to assist a swimmer in peril, but stressed that beachgoers should be aware of the dangers of swimming out to someone caught in a strong current.

A spokesman said: "We always urge people to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard if they see someone in difficulty in the water, rather than going in themselves."