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  1. ITV Report

Richard Branson's 'life flashed before eyes' in bicycle accident

The Virgin boss landed 'head-first' on concrete. Credit: Virgin.com

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson said that he thought he was going to die when he crashed his bicycle while on holiday in the Caribbean.

The entrepreneur was "hurled over the handlebars" of his bike and landed head-first on concrete badly bruising his cheek and suffering severe cuts to his knee, chin, shoulder and body.

Recounting the accident that took place in Virigin Gorda on Monday on his blog, he said the accident happened as he hit a 'sleeping policeman' head-on after it suddenly became dark.

He said: "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."

Richard Branson enjoys a beer as he recovers from his injuries. Credit: Virgin.com

He said that "fortunately" his shoulder and cheek took the brunt of the impact and his cycling helmet saved his life.

He added: "My bike went flying off the cliff and disappeared. We've since recovered the crumpled bicycle, completely destroyed."

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.

"I really couldn't believe I was alive, let alone not paralysed," he said.

The entrepreneur said he was 'extremely fortunate' to have survived the accident. Credit: Virgin.com

He travelled to Miami, USA for x-rays and scans, and described himself as "extremely fortunate" to have only suffered a cracked cheek and torn ligaments.

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 practicing what I preach – though a little too literally!

– Richard Branson

The accident happened as he was training with his children Holly and Sam for next month's Virgin Strive Challenge, an endurance event from the base of the Matterhorn in the Alps to the summit of Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy.

He still plans to take part in the event.

The crash took place the day before his Twitter account posted CCTV images that appeared to show Jeremy Corbyn walk past empty seats before complaining about "ram-packed" carriages on a Virgin Trains service. It is not the first calamity for Branson while holidaying in the Caribbean. Five years ago, a fire destroyed his luxury home on Necker Island.

"What a way to mark it!" Branson joked. "Thankfully, good fortune has smiled on me so far.

"It has been quite a year, I’ve been in the wars knocking my teeth out playing tennis not once but twice, and also being kissed by a ray and running into a bullet proof door."