A grieving father told an Australian inquest Tuesday how he was forced to make a "life and death" decision over which of his children to save when a family canoe trip turned to tragedy.

Television presenter Ian Clayton's nine-year-old daughter Billie died after their canoe capsized during a 2006 trip, throwing them into fast-flowing water, along with Billie's twin brother Edward.

Clayton, 48, spoke through tears as he described how he had been told by his son to save Billie first. He desperately tried to lift the canoe clear but couldn't see Billie and was only able to grab on to Edward.

Buoyed by their lifejackets, Clayton and his son were carried away by the strong current of the River Wye in Powys, Wales.

“When I got to Edward he said, 'Save my sister first,’” Clayton said. “It's hard to understand what was going through that little lad's mind.”

Clayton went on to explain the agonizing decision he was forced to make.

“It was a challenge for me,” he said. “What twin to go for? Sometimes I dream that I saved Billie instead. I will never know if I made the right decision.”

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