A “kind and amazing” father-of-two has been struck and killed by a car after he got out of his own vehicle to help a family of ducks cross a busy intersection in California.

Casey Rivara, 41, was driving his children home after their swimming practice when they noticed a duck and her ducklings struggling to get across, according to his aunt Tracey Rivara.

Mr Rivara parked his car at the crossroads in Rocklin, about 20 miles northeast of Sacramento, and managed to usher the little animals safely across as people nearby reportedly applauded.

But as he was heading back to his vehicle he was struck, according to the relative.

Mr Rivara was “trying to help some ducklings that were in the intersection” when a teenage driver fatally hit him in the road, police said.

The victim died at the scene. The ducks were unharmed in the incident.

The 17-year-old girl behind the wheel remained at the site and, while the investigation was ongoing, it was unlikely she would face criminal charges, said Captain Scott Horrillo of Rocklin police.

“We still have a lot of areas and evidence to sort through, but at first look it does not look like there’s going to be any criminal negligence,” Capt Horrillo told NBC News.

The tragedy unfolded in front of locals who applauded Mr Rivara’s kind efforts, a 12-year-old boy told NBC Sacramento affiliate station KCRA.

‘Everyone was clapping because he was being really nice’

“He got out of the car and was shooing the ducks and everyone was clapping because he was being really nice,” the child said.

“He helped them get up over the kerb because all the little baby duckies were having trouble and then he walked in front of our car.”

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Mr Rivara’s widow has said she and her family have been “deeply touched by the overwhelming love and support” they have received.

In a statement, Angel Chow wrote on Facebook: “We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of you for the kind messages and gestures of kindness.

“It’s truly humbling to hear how Casey has positively impacted your lives, and we’re extremely grateful for that.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Mr Rivara’s aunt to raise funds for the family following the tragedy last Thursday evening.

She wrote: “Casey was the kindest, most amazing husband and father. Even his last act in this world was a sign of his compassion. The family is trying to figure out how to recover and keep going after this immense loss.”