A teenager who was trying to retrieve a stick from the River Erewash fell in and drowned, an inquest heard.
Josh Boothman, 13, of Horace Avenue, Stapleford, was trying to build a dam with his friends when tragedy struck on September 24 last year.
A Nottinghamshire coroner commended the quick-thinking reaction from two children at the scene and locals who fought to find and save the youngster.
Nottinghamshire Police says the two youngsters playing with Josh will be receiving bravery awards for their efforts.
The inquest held at Nottingham’s Council House on Friday heard how the tragedy unfolded.
Trainee Detective Emily Bucklow, who works at St Ann’s police station, told the inquest that Josh had woken at 10.30am and after breakfast went out to play in the sunshine.
He had been desperate to buy a scooter he had found in a local charity shop and his dad provided him with the money.
At 1pm, he brought the scooter home and went out to play with his friends near the River Erewash, close to Warren Avenue, where they tried to build a den out of sticks on the river.
She told the inquest: “They were building a path across the river with sticks, Josh lost a good stick, and slipped and fell into the river. William tried to grab hold of him but he was too far away.
“William had tried to hook a stick into his clothing but due to his weight he was struggling against the current. The little girl was at the side (of the river) and tried to help - telling him to flap his arms and stay afloat - but the children watched as he went underneath the water.”
Det Bucklow said that William phoned his mum who raced to the scene with her elder daughter. She dived into the river, swirling a stick in the water to see if she could find him.
The elder daughter ran to a nearby house where a young couple lived. The man raced out and also tried to help find the boy.
The emergency services were also called. She said the river is five metres deep and 15 metres wide.
Assistant coroner for Nottinghamshire, Dr Elizabeth Didcock, told the family: “I am struck by how many people helped and how the children reacted.
“It is clearly a devastating thing that has happened to your family and I am so sorry for your loss.”
She added: “Josh died from drowning close to Warren Avenue.
“It was cold and deep where he fell and it was accidental.
“There are some brave people that tried to help. My sincere condolences.”
The cause of death was recorded as accidental.