A gay couple have said they thought they were going to die after their 4×4 was hit by a “tidal wave” of flood water.

Millionaires Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow, who have had five children by a surrogate, were travelling back from a celebrity event when a river bank flooded and they became immersed in water 5ft deep.

They were rescued from the roof of their brand new Range Rover after clambering out of the window as the car started to fill up with water.

Barrie told MailOnline: “The car started filling up with water and it went dark. We had to climb out of the window. I thought I was going to die”.

The couple, wearing tuxedoes, were rescued just after midnight yesterday by a fire crew after Tony called 999.

It took approximately 15 firefighters nearly an hour to rescue them and take them to safety in Chelmsford, Essex.

Tony, 48, and Barrie, 43, were forced to abandon their possessions in the car, including a laptop and photo albums, which they say have now been stolen.

They are offering a £5,000 reward for anyone who finds them.

The fathers were heading back from filming with The Only Way is Essex stars at Essex Fashion Week.

The pair made headlines in 1999 when they became one of the first gay couples in the UK to have children through a surrogate mother.

Last year, the couple, who have made millions from cosmetic research, were accused of fabricating test results in clinical trials.

They were also accused of lying to an ethics committee by saying that Barrie was a nurse when he did not hold the appropriate qualifications.

The couple were subsequently cleared of all charges at Southwark Crown Court.