A 65-YEAR-OLD man has told how he helped to pull a road crash victim from a river at Earith in a desperate attempt to save his life.

David Fogg was driving along the B1050 Shelfords Road to his home in Bluntisham when he came across Graham Gillson's silver Nissan Note sinking into the water.

Although the darkness, torrential rain and floods made it difficult to see the river bank, Mr Fogg put his foot on the edge of the bank to get closer to the vehicle.

As he shone a torch outwards, the Frogs Hall resident noticed Mr Gillson's body floating in the water. He and others managed to grab hold of the 70-year-old Somersham resident, who owned Cleanomat in Cambridge, and drag him to dry land, where Mr Fogg carried out resuscitation attempts.

Within five minutes, he thought he had helped Mr Gillson, of Cranfield Place, when he finally started to breathe and even confirmed his name to the police when they arrived.

"At that moment he left in the ambulance and it seemed very positive," said Mr Fogg, who until his retirement last year was Anglia Ruskin University's senior lecturer in nursing.

"There was a feeling that he had survived."

However a spokesman for Magpas Helimedix, who stepped in to provide life support, said: "Sadly, despite all their best efforts, the man was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital."

Mr Fogg, who knows the river well after fishing in the area for 30 years, said: "It was a very dangerous situation. I felt I had a duty to save him and I wanted to help. However I was also aware if I fell into the water, I wouldn't get out. I wasn't brave, I just did what I thought was right. "

Mr Gillson's colleague Ray Watts, 58, from Chatteris, paid tribute to his employer as a "lovely man". "So many people have been coming into the shop to offer their condolences," he said. "He was very kind and highly regarded."

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said officers were appealing for witnesses to the crash but said it was not related to the flooding in the area. Call officers on 101 with any information.