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'An absolute hero' - Franklin father drowned while saving children at Auckland beach

The family of a man who drowned at an Auckland beach this week say he died saving his children.

Revell Douglas and his three sons Lockie, Hamish and Liam. Source: Supplied

Franklin man Revell Douglas, 46, died at Karioitahi Beach, near Waiuku, on Wednesday.

The "passionate horseman" was exercising his horses while at the beach with his partner Lou Watkin and seven children, including his three sons, his partner's children and nephew and one of their friends.

When he saw some of the children struggling in the water, Douglas sprung into action.

"Revell and eldest son Lockie along with Lou, helped save the children but tragically Revell lost his life whilst doing so," a family spokesperson told 1 NEWS today.

In an obituary published on Harness Racing NZ today, Watkin paid tribute to her partner.

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The trotting horse ran into a water trough in May, 2019, one night after a race at Alexandra Park. Source: Seven Sharp

"He has died an absolute hero and we are all forever indebted to him for making sure the kids were safe.”

Douglas had three sons - 13-year-old Lockie, 11-year-old Hamish and nine-year-old Liam - with his former partner Julia.

He's being remembered as a "passionate horseman" who had worked in the racing industry most of his life.

Revell Douglas and one of his horses. Source: Supplied

Douglas' love of his horses featured on Seven Sharp last year, after trotting horse Locksmith suffered an horrific accident following a race.

Douglas fought to save his life and help him recover from the accident, appearing on the TVNZ show after Locksmith won his first race after recovery.

His death will be investigated by the coroner.