A 5-year-old French boy's dash for help on his bike in the dark saved his father's life after he suffered a heart attack.

The father, 58, collapsed after saying goodnight to Kevin-Djene Godin. The boy's mother was working a night shift at a company more than 10km from their home in the village of Saint-Pierre-la-Cour in northwestern France.

Kevin-Djene braved the rain and went off to raise the alarm at 10.30pm local time, cycling on cold, wet country roads, wearing only his pyjamas and flip-flops. Before leaving, he took his 2-year-old sister out of bed and placed her beside their father.

His valiant actions could easily have ended in tragedy had it not been for a concerned motorist who stopped.

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The driver, Jean-Franois Pinot, told the newspaper Ouest-France: "He was soaked through and freezing. That road is very dangerous." Pinot said Kevin-Djene told him: "I'm going to fetch my mummy because my daddy is dead."

Pinot put the boy in his car to warm up and phoned the police, who found the boy's father unconscious, summoned an ambulance, and notified his mother, Djeneba Godin.

"This little boy is incredible. What he did was very smart," said Pinot.