A SWIMMER who suffered a heart attack while doing laps has thanked the emergency crews who saved his life.

Douglas Went, 54, of Grove Road, Rayleigh, was swimming at Clements Hall leisure centre, in Hawkwell, in November, when he went into cardiac arrest.

Lifguards dragged Mr Went from the pool and gave him CPR for 15 minutes until ambulance crews arrived. He was only given between a 2 per cent and 8 per cent chance of survival.

But thanks to the help of the lifeguards, paramedics and hospital staff, he pulled through and, on Friday, paid special tribute to the people who saved his life.

He said: "I don't remember anything about what happened. I was swimming at the time. My wife and I used to go every week and I had swum about 70 lengths.

"All I know is I was on the last length when it happened. The next thing I knew, I woke up in hospital.

"Apparently, the lifeguards got me out the pool and gave me CPR for about 15 minutes until the ambulance arrived."

Mr Went, a technical manager for a chemical company, was in hospital for a week after the incident. He still has to go through rehabilitation before he can swim again, but says this is something he is keen to do.

Paramedic David Francis who, alongside emergency care practitioner Chris Parker, was called to help Mr Went, said: "The survival rates for pre-hospital cardiac arrest is between 2 per cent and 8 per cent.

"His survival can be attributed to the lifeguards' good, effective CPR, which gave Douglas a better chance of survival after he was handed over to the ambulance crew."

Tony Hudson, Clements Hall leisure centre manager, said: "At Clements Hall, we pride ourselves on providing a high level of service that includes ensuring all health and safety standards are met.

"I am always very proud of the way emergencies are dealt with."