Sir Richard Branson has revealed how he feared he would die after crashing head first onto a road in a high-speed bike crash on the British Virgin Islands. The 66-year-old Virgin tycoon was on a training cycle run with his two adult children Holly and Sam when the horrifying incident happened on Virgin Gorda on Monday.
Sir Richard, who is worth nearly £4billion, was taken to Miami, Florida, for X-rays and scans - which found he had suffered torn ligaments and a cracked cheek. "I went flying head-first towards the concrete road, but fortunately my shoulder and cheek took the brunt of the impact."
Sir Richard added that wearing a helmet saved his life, and his bicycle went flying off the cliff’. He continued: "I really couldn’t believe I was alive, let alone not paralysed."
The first person to arrive on the scene was his assistant Helen Clarke, whom he claims to have told: "I’m alive! At least you’ve still got a job."
One of his team sprinted over to help him and he was taken to Miami for treatment, but admitted he had been ‘extremely fortunate’ with his lack of major injuries.
He added: "My biggest hardship is having to drink tea out of a straw. Oh, and being called elephant man by a six year old. 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."
The accident took place on the fifth anniversary of the fire on his private residence of Necker Island, which gutted his £75million house and led to it being rebuilt. The incident also comes six months after Sir Richard told how he had been bitten by a ‘shark’ while swimming with dozens of stingrays in the Cayman Islands.
During the same trip he also smashed his head into a glass door while out shopping - and he has knocked teeth out twice while playing tennis over the past year. And in 1985, his speedboat famously capsized in high seas about 140 miles from the Isles of Scilly as he tried to set a record for the fastest-ever Atlantic crossing, DailyMail reports.