Virgin Group founder Richard Branson narrowly escaped death when he was flung over the handlebars of his bicycle and fell head first onto the pavement near his home in the British Virgin Islands, reports BBC.
66-year-old Branson had been cycling Monday evening with two of his children, Holly and Sam, on Virgin Gorda island as they trained for the month-long “Virgin Strive Challenge,” a charity hiking, biking and swimming challenge through Italy planned for the first week of September.
Sir Richard Branson said he thought he was “going to die.”
The businessman said he was “extremely fortunate” only to have suffered a cracked cheek and torn ligaments.
Sir Richard said he was cycling down a hill when he hit a speed bump, and “the next thing I knew, I was being hurled over the handlebars and my life was literally flashing before my eyes.”
His bicycle “went flying off the cliff and disappeared”, 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.
“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 another member of his team, George, “sprinted from the bottom of the hill” to assist.
He travelled to Miami for X-rays and scans, and later posted photographs online showing his bloodied face.
He still hopes to take part in the event.