A MILFORD Haven mum, who found the body of a Latvian man in the River Cleddau near Neyland, has said she still sees him every time she closes her eyes.

Juris Apalko, 25, went missing in the Cleddau last Sunday, July 29, sparking an extensive multi-agency search.

He was last seen in the water near Neyland marina.

It is thought Mr Apalko got into difficulty while swimming with friends.

The search and rescue helicopter from St Athan joined Angle lifeboat, Dyfed-Powys Police, Mid and West Wales Fire Service and other local resources in a bid to find Mr Apalko.

His body was eventually located on Tuesday afternoon, July 31.

Milford Mercury: PICTURE: Martin Cavaney

PICTURE: Martin Cavaney

Tracey Smith had watched the search on Sunday, when she dropped her son off at his nan’s Neyland home.

Mum-of-two Tracey visited her son, with partner John Howlett, on Tuesday, stopping near the town’s pontoon that afternoon.

“We sat there for about five minutes, I drove on the yacht club slip.

"We were sitting in the car looking at the water, and I said: ‘What’s that floating?’.

“I got out of the car and went to the water’s edge, I could see something with a little bit of blue.

“I went back to the car and said: ‘I’m not sure if it’s the boy’.”

Tracey then returned with John, who confirmed she had seen the body.

“By the time John had come down we could see more, I dialled 999, at 5.08pm.

“I could see his pants and his backside, and then his face. I screamed and I just wanted to go and get him, but I couldn’t.

“I was the day before my birthday, I didn’t really want to celebrate it then.

“They sent two police boats, two police cars, CID and an ambulance and a fire engine. One of the police officers jumped off the boat to retrieve the young man.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to the two men who came and helped me while we were waiting for the emergency services, and to the young lady who came over with a cup of tea and a bag of sugar.

"It was an awful experience but I'm glad the young man can be laid to rest now.

“If John wasn’t there they would’ve been looking for me; I just wanted to jump in and get him.

“He was right in front of our feet but I wasn’t allowed to touch him.

“Every time I close my eyes I see him.”

Tracey is not seeking praise for finding Mr Apalko’s body, but hopes the find will give his family some sort of closure.

“It wasn’t nice, but I wanted to speak to the paper to raise awareness of the dangers of the water.

“I’m not doing it for sympathy, I’m not doing it for credit, I just don’t want anyone to go through what I went through; at least his body can be laid to rest by his family.

“I keep breaking down and crying; I do want to get in contact with the family, but it’s going to take a long time.

“I’m going to go down and put flowers down there as a mark of respect; I’m just glad we found him so the family can lay him to rest.”