Sir Richard Branson has said he believes his cycle helmet saved his life after he came off his bike at high speed when he hit a road hump.
The billionaire boss of Virgin suffered a cracked cheek, torn ligaments and cuts and bruising to his body in Monday night’s crash, which occurred on Virgin Gorda, one of the British Virgin Islands.
He was with his two children, Holly and Sam, when he hit a road hump as they headed down a hill in the dark.
“The next thing I knew, I was being hurled over the handlebars and my life was literally flashing before my eyes,” he said. “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.”
The 66-year-old said his bike disappeared over the side of a cliff and he was left counting his blessings that he was alive and not more seriously injured.
His assistant was the first to arrive on the scene followed by another member of his team who sprinted up the hill. They took him home and patched him up before he flew to Miami for scans.
Branson said it was one of many brushes with death he has had over the years. These include being rescued along with other crew members from his capsized speedboat when attempting the fastest-ever Atlantic crossing in 1985.
Two years later he ended up in the sea again when forced to abandon his hot air balloon while attempting the first transatlantic crossing in a balloon.
In February he was bitten by a stingray, and cut his head running into a bulletproof glass door. And Monday’s accident occurred on the fifth anniversary of the fire on Necker Island, which is owned by Branson. “What a way to mark it,” he said. “Thankfully, good fortune has smiled on me so far.”
The crash happened the day before he created a storm by releasing CCTV images on his Twitter account showing Jeremy Corbyn walking past free seats before he was filmed sitting on the floor complaining about “ram-packed” carriages on a Virgin Trains service.