Now Dan Walker, who was pulled from the river in Shrewsbury, has hailed as a hero student Will Mowbray who saved his life.
Father-of-one Dan is recovering at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital after the frightening ordeal in the early hours of Monday, April 4.
But he has been warned he may not walk again.
Dan said he had earlier been to see a friend in Wyle Cop before going to the Nag’s Head.
The last time he was seen on CCTV he was going past the Hop and Friar.
He remembers turning right to go towards the Quarry but somehow he ended up in the river.
“I still don’t remember all of it,” said Dan, who works in the kitchen at Henry Tudor House in Barracks Passage.
He said: “I was scared for my life. I shouldn’t have been there. I wouldn’t normally go that way but I was there for some reason.
“I was still conscious when Will got in and was helping me. "I remember my face hitting the water.
"There was a chain that I was hanging on to. If that wasn’t there I’d have drowned.
"I was trying to pull myself out but it was like quicksand. Then I just remember waking up in hospital.”
Will made multiple rescue attempts - including trying to drag 31-year-old Dan from the water while another member of the public held on to his ankles - before diving in and holding Dan above water for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, Will’s girlfriend Molly Marr was on the riverbank speaking to emergency services and helping co-ordinate the rescue.
Emergency services arrived to help get the men out of the water, but Dan suffered a cardiac arrest and passed out as he clambered up a ladder to get out of the water.
Dan says he “died” several times.
After his cardiac arrest at the riverside, he was again unresponsive at the hospital.
Doctors have told Dan he may not walk again. He must spend six weeks laying on his back to get the swelling down on his spine.
He will then be transferred to Robert Jones Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, in Gobowen, near Oswestry, for specialist spinal treatment.
At that point he should get a more accurate prognosis on how much use of his legs he can regain.
“I’m just grateful to Will. He saved my life. I can’t wait to meet him," said Dan.
"I just want to say thank you, and to his girlfriend. I can’t imagine what she must have been feeling.
"He must have been so cold. He must have been in there keeping my head above water for 30 or 40 minutes. If that boat had been any longer we'd have both been goners.
"He's already made his mark on the world. I can't wait to see what he does with his life."
Dan revealed he has a long road to recovery but he remains upbeat.
"They say it's a two-year recovery, but I'll do it in one," he said.
"Watch me. I'm still smiling. I'd rather this than not being here. I'm a pretty positive guy, but I'm realistic."
Dan’s ordeal was the third serious river incident in a matter of days in Shrewsbury.
Toby Jones, 31, died after being pulled from the river at Victoria Quay on April 1. And the body of missing Nathan Fleetwood recovered from the water near Greyfriar’s Bridge on Good Friday.