A blind Californian teen has hailed his friend a "hero" and thanked him for saving his life after he was viciously attacked by a bully at school.
Austin Higley, who is registered blind, was rescued by 17-year-old Cody Pines after a boy started throwing punches at his head. The incident, which took place at Huntington Beach High School, was filmed and has now been watched more than 26m times on YouTube.
Pines stepped in to break up the attack, knocking the attacker to the ground with a single punch, and demanding why he was "hitting a blind kid".
He then warns the bully: "I swear to God, if you fuck with this kid again, I will fuck you up."
Higley was able to tell his friend, who he has known since elementary school, of his gratitude during an interview with Dr Phil, a popular American television host.
"Honestly, I feel like you saved my life," the 16-year-old told Pines.
Speaking to the TV host, Pines added: "Think about what you're doing whenever you're bullying someone. That's another person's life. Could you imagine if someone else ruined your whole life by doing this?"
The school said last month it was reviewing the incident, addressing rumours Pines had been suspended in a statement: "In the Education Code it is a school district's responsibility to protect student records, as well as to be of personal support to their families. We want to thank the family of the student who came to the aid of his fellow classmate, as they have granted us permission to share the following information:
"Their student has not been suspended over past two school days. He has been eligible to attend school with all privileges both Thursday and Friday of this week, and this eligibility will continue."