A PENSIONER has told of the dramatic moment he fell off his mobility scooter and into a river.
Michael Close said he was left ‘really frightened’ after the water quickly came up to his chest.
And he has praised an elderly couple for saving his life by calling the fire brigade.
The 67-year-old had just visited his sister, Susan, in Bury Road, Gosport when he took a shortcut and ended up slipping into the River Alver in Gomer Lane.
Mr Close said: ‘I wanted to get down to Stokes Bay quicker, so I went down a little track and got halfway down before I fell.
‘Then I was up to my chest in the water. I was panicking, trying to pull myself up.
‘I was pulling out handfuls of grass and I kept slipping back down.
‘I was on my own and was shouting ‘‘help’’. I was really frightened.’
He was in the water for seven minutes before an elderly couple heard his cries for help and called the fire brigade.
They then waited with him until the crew arrived.
Mr Close now wants to get in touch with the couple who helped him.
He said: ‘I owe these people my life.
‘They were a godsend and I want to thank them.
‘The crew hoisted me up and then they took me to the hospital. I was still very shaken.
‘I wouldn’t go back to that place for a million pounds.’
An ambulance and two PCSOs attended the scene before paramedics took the retired security firm manager to hospital.
He was sent home a short time later with no lasting effects.
A spokesperson from Gosport Fire Service said: ‘We were called at 17.21 to Gomer Lane in Gosport.
An elderly man had fallen into the river and was trapped in the mud.
‘He was rescued by firefighters using ladders and passed into care of the ambulance service.’
Community safety group manager for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Glenn Bowyer said: ‘This incident is a reminder of dangers of open water and how easily and quickly you can get into difficulty.
‘It’s important that people treat water with respect and take care.’
The incident happened in the afternoon on Thursday July 6.
If you are the couple who helped Mr Close, or know who they are, please contact reporter Millie Salkeld on (023) 9262 2130.