A DROWNING pensioner who accepted he was going to die has issued a plea to find the swimmer who saved his life.

Derek Snelgrove said when he went under the water having exited a flume in Leisure World, he thought that was it.

But a swimmer who acted swiftly grabbed his arm and pulled him free from the water during the terrifying close call at the Colchester attraction.

The 68-year-old says the harrowing incident has left him needing therapy to tackle nightmarish flashbacks which see him wake up in the night fighting for his breath.

“I came down the flume and when I landed in the pool at the bottom I went underwater,” said Mr Snelgrove, reflecting on his near death experience.

Gazette: Saved - Derek Snelgrove, 68Saved - Derek Snelgrove, 68

He added: “I was instantly fighting, I didn’t know which way was up and, to be honest, I thought I was finished.

“I truly believed no-one knew I was there and so I accepted no help was coming.

“I opened my mouth and thought ‘This is it, finish me’. I thought I was dead and just wanted to get it over with quickly.

“But then someone grabbed my arm and pulled me up.”

The pensioner, who lives in Colchester, was sent for an x-ray after complaining about a pain in his lungs, adding he couldn’t talk “for a long time” after being freed from the water at about 2.15pm on April 30.

Gazette: Attraction - Leisure World ColchesterAttraction - Leisure World Colchester

He said: “It was a horrible experience; I’m glad I’m here and still alive but I can’t get over these feelings.

“I have nightmares where I’m drowning and wake up fighting for my breath, thinking I’m still underwater.”

Mr Snelgrove has now appealed for his rescuer to make themselves known so he can thank them personally.

He said: “Please contact me, I need to speak to you so I can thank you for saving my life. I owe my life to this angel of a man.”

If you believe you could be the rescuer for the incident at about 2.15pm on Saturday, April 30, please email lewis.adams@newsquest.co.uk.