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Sir Richard Branson: I thought I would die in bike crash

Published 26/08/2016

Sir Richard Branson after he was involved in a bicycle crash (Virgin.com/PA)
Sir Richard Branson after he was involved in a bicycle crash (Virgin.com/PA)

Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson said he thought he was going to die after coming off his bicycle in a high-speed crash.

The 66-year-old Virgin founder was left bloodied and suffered a cracked cheek, torn ligaments and severe cuts .

The accident happened on Virgin Gorda, one of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, on Monday.

Sir Richard said: " I was heading down a hill towards Leverick Bay when it suddenly got really dark and I managed to hit a sleeping policeman hump in the road head on.

"The next thing I knew, I was being hurled over the handlebars and my life was literally flashing before my eyes.

"I really thought I was going to die. I went flying head-first towards the concrete road, but fortunately my shoulder and cheek took the brunt of the impact, and I was wearing a helmet that saved my life.

" My bike went flying off the cliff and disappeared. We've since recovered the crumpled bicycle, completely destroyed. My cheek has been badly damaged and my knee, chin, shoulder and body severely cut."

Sir Richard said his assistant, Helen, was first on the scene as he was "lying prostrate on the road" and then a nother member of his team, George, "sprinted from the bottom of the hill" to assist.

He travelled to Miami, USA for x-rays and scans, and described himself as "extremely fortunate" to have avoided more serious injuries.

" My biggest hardship is having to drink tea out of a straw," he said.

He was cycling with his children Holly and Sam in training for September's Virgin Strive Challenge in which a group of people will hike, cycle, swim and run f rom the base of the Matterhorn in the Alps to the summit of Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy.

Sir Richard still hopes to take part in the event, which will raise £1.5 million to support projects to give young people the " necessary tools they need to thrive in life".

The crash happened the day before CCTV images were released through the billionaire's Twitter account showing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn walking past empty unreserved train seats before he was filmed sitting on the floor complaining about "ram-packed" carriages on a Virgin Trains service.

It was also the fifth anniversary of the fire which destroyed his luxury home on Necker Island.

Sir Richard joked: " What a way to mark it!"

He added: " My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you're moving forward.

"All you have to do is get back up and try again. At least I'm practising what I preach - though a little too literally!"

Sir Richard said he has "been in the wars" this year, twice knocking his teeth out playing tennis, being "kissed by a ray" while swimming and running into a bulletproof door.

He went on to say he had experienced "many brushes with death, not least in my ballooning adventures". From 1995 to 1998 he made several attempts to circumnavigate the globe by balloon with Per Lindstrand and Steve Fossett.

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From Belfast Telegraph