A legal manager at South Northamptonshire Council drowned after saving the lives of two children who got into trouble in the sea.
Chetna Nathasingh, from Northamptonshire, was on holiday in Goa with her husband, Kipling, and family friends when the tragedy happened, only hours before she was due to fly home.
An inquest on Tuesday heard how Mrs Nathasingh, aged 47, managed to keep the stricken girls, aged eight and 12, afloat until help arrived, but fell unconsciousness before lifeguards were able to pull her from the water.
In a statement read out in court, her husband described how she had refused to leave the girls in the sea when a jet ski and another vessel reached them, insisting she should be the last to be rescued.
By the time lifeguards got to her, Mrs Nathasingh was unconscious and was pronounced dead soon afterwards on the beach.
Mr Nathasingh said: “She was the perfect woman. She was my support, my soul-mate and by best friend. The fact she gave her life for others was typical of her.”
Bradford coroner, Dominic Bell, described the tragedy as “a very sad and moving story”.
He recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Mrs Nathasingh, from Irthlingborough, worked as a legal services manager for South Northamptonshire Council at the time of her death.
A council spokesman said: “Chetna had served us and the people of the district for nearly 12 years and played a key role in representing the council in legal matters.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with her family at this difficult time.”