While trying to bring a mother duck and her chicks safely across the road, a Californian has been fatally injured by a car. According to several eyewitnesses, Casey Rivara was hit by the car after he had led the animals through an intersection in Rocklin near Sacramento and ran back across the roadway to his car.

The 40-year-old's two children, whom he had picked up from swimming lessons shortly before, are said to have observed the collision. Before the fatal accident, other drivers had rewarded Rivara's commitment to the ducks with applause.

"He was the only one who got out of the car to help the ducks. The fact that something happened to him, of all people, is tragic," a twelve-year-old told NBC.

While the Rocklin Police Department was investigating, a relative of Rivara's called online for donations for his wife and children. By Tuesday, more than $60,000 had been raised.