A tribute was paid to Mr. Silverthorne, who moved to the Philippines 10 years ago (Photo: Viral Press)

A pensioner has drowned in the Philippines after disappearing while swimming.

Derek Arthur Silverthorne, 79, of Brighton, was seen unconscious in the water off Cuyos Bisucay Island by a passing ferry.

He was last seen alive in the sea on Saturday morning before being found just before noon.

The expat, who was a member of the local water sports club, was wearing a rashguard diving top and flippers when officers retrieved him.

Coast guards attempted to resuscitate him with CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bill’s Jimmy of the Cuyo Watersports Association described him as the “luckiest person” in an emotional tribute.

He said: “We still can’t believe what happened to him.

Derek was last seen swimming on Saturday (Image: Viral Press)

A British pensioner has been found dead in the Philippines after drowning while diving.  Derek Arthur Silverthorne, 79, of Brighton, was last killed on Saturday morning 25. A passing ferry named 'Milenyo' saw Derek, also known to friends as Bill, floating unconscious on the water just before noon at 11:30 am.  ?  PACKAGE: photos, text

He was an avid swimmer and a member of the local water sports club (Photo: Viral Press)

“Bill was the happiest person I knew. He loved the sea and loved to dive.

“I can’t give any further details about how he died.”

Local businesswoman Daziella Young said Bill Sunday has been in the tropical country for more than a decade.

She said: “On our island of Cuyo, Palawan, a British bachelor has been living in our humble guest house for over 15 years since 2008.

He was part of the family to us. He was our very first tenant.

“We love you so much Bill, it breaks my heart to know that you left us so suddenly.”

The grieving friend said Bill’s wake would be held at her home to follow the Englishman’s wishes.

A British pensioner has been found dead in the Philippines after drowning while diving.  Derek Arthur Silverthorne, 79, of Brighton, was last killed on Saturday morning 25. A passing ferry named 'Milenyo' saw Derek, also known to friends as Bill, floating unconscious on the water just before noon at 11:30 am.  ?  PACKAGE: photos, text

Derek’s body was found by a ferry that passed him in the water (Photo: Viral Press)

She added: “His vigil will be held at our home in Villa Gange, Catadman, Cuyo, Palawan.

“We have contacted his next of kin and the British Embassy because he wanted to be buried on his beloved island of Cuyo, his second home.”

A spokesman for the East Palawan Coast Guard said: “East Palawan Coast Guard Station (CGSEP) staff rescued a foreign tourist from the ocean after receiving information about a body floating in the coastal passage.

“The man immediately received chest compressions as he walked back to Cuyo Harbor, Palawan, but could not be resuscitated.

“On arrival at that port, the man was immediately taken by vehicle from that station to Cuyo District Hospital, although he was pronounced ‘dead on arrival’ by the attending physician.”

His funeral continues to be arranged while Derek’s local friends confer with the embassy.

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