Anas El-Rafai, 15, was with his brother Jamal, 13, and friends at Broken Scar in Darlington on Monday when they got into trouble in the River Tees.
According to his elder brother Mohammed, Anas pulled them to safety, but the river carried him away “in seconds.”
The family fled Syria’s civil war in 2011 and settled in the United Kingdom in 2018.
“He wasn’t a great swimmer,” Mohammed added, “but he was more concerned about his brother and pal than about himself.”
“He didn’t think he’d die; all he wanted to do was aid,” says the narrator.