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I couldn't save my pal from drowning

PUBLISHED: 16:33 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 03 July 2010

Grief-stricken: Barry Curtis with his friend Daniel Reid's dog Tia  (right) and his own pet dog Lola.

Grief-stricken: Barry Curtis with his friend Daniel Reid's dog Tia (right) and his own pet dog Lola.

THE best friend of missing swimmer Daniel Reid has spoken of his desperate attempts to save him from drowning in the sea at Great Yarmouth.

Barry Curtis struggled for up to 15 minutes to try to rescue Mr Reid, who disappeared while in the sea off North Beach.

THE best friend of missing swimmer Daniel Reid has spoken of his desperate attempts to save him from drowning in the sea at Great Yarmouth.

Barry Curtis struggled for up to 15 minutes to try to rescue Mr Reid, who disappeared while in the sea off North Beach.

Unemployed catering worker Mr Reid, 25, who lived in Cobholm, was swept away just a few feet from the beach on Thursday, August 6.

Despite a massive search involving the police, coastguard and lifeboats from Gorleston and Caister, Mr Reid has still not been found.

This week, grief-stricken Mr Curtis relived the trauma of his friend's final moments and his own narrow escape from death.

What had been just another day on the beach turned to disaster after Mr Reid got into trouble just minutes after wading into the sea.

Mr Curtis said: “I was wondering how cold the sea was and waded up to my knees and then Dan came in behind me. He was going to push me, but I saw him and got out of the way, we were just messing about.

“The water was up to my chest and Dan is a lot taller. He can't swim but there didn't appear to be any danger. I heard him call my name, knew straight away he was in trouble and turned round to see him disappear under the water. He was only a few feet from me, but must have been on the edge of a trench.”

Unemployed courier Mr Curtis, 35, quickly swam over to his friend who was struggling desperately to stay afloat.

He tried repeatedly to drag Mr Reid back to safety, but the two men were by now being swept away by a powerful current.

“I had grabbed hold of Dan, but was getting dragged under too, for a few seconds we were arm in arm then he slipped from my grasp,” said Mr Curtis.

“I kept shouting for help, but people on the beach were just staring at us. I saw Dan's head slip under again and made a desperate attempt to get hold of him. Suddenly he wasn't there. I dived under, but the water was so dark it was impossible to see.

“By now my breath was running short; I could hardly kick or move my arms and was just floating on the water.

“I had no energy left, felt sick and was terrified I was going to drown. I just managed to kick my legs and then felt the ground beneath me and struggled back on the beach.”

Mr Curtis collapsed exhausted on the shore and he was treated by paramedics while a full-scale search was mounted for Mr Reid.

Now back at the home they shared in Cobholm, he is surrounded by memories and is looking after his friend's beloved Staffordshire bull terrier, Tia.

The two men formed a close bond after meeting through mutual friends in Norwich two years ago and moved to Yarmouth earlier this year.

He said: “We both love our dogs and I always promised Dan I would take care of Tia if something bad happened. She sits by the door waiting for him.

“It feels worse his body has not been discovered, I cannot mourn him properly or put anything to rest. I just have to see something around the house that belonged to him and start crying.”

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