Hampshire man who was nearly paralysed during skydive stuns doctors with recovery

  • ITV News Meridian's Rachel Hepworth has been to meet Mike

A man from Hampshire who was nearly paralysed when a skydive went wrong has defied the odds to get back on his feet within weeks of major surgery on his spine.

In October, Mike Oakes - a former Royal Marine - was completing his 379th skydive, his eighth that weekend, when a complicated manoeuvre he learnt the day before went wrong.

He landed on the base of his spine at 40 miles per hour causing it to fracture.

Doctors feared he would never walk again but now less than four months later he's training for an Iron Man challenge and preparing to skydive again.

He said: "My surgeon said that it was 9-12 months before I should expect to be doing things.

"I'm now 14 weeks post surgery and I am able to exercise, taking it gently.

"There's no need to go to maximum straight away, but I'm definitely able to cycle and run.

"I'm doing all the things I was able to do before."

The former Royal Marine in a wind tunnel.

Mr Oakes, from Andover, was not put off by his near death experience and has already been back in a wind tunnel.

He added: "I took it very gently, as I went in, as soon as I felt the air supporting me I didn't feel pain.

"I just heard a blast.

"I've been in no doubt that I'm going to skydive again.

"I've got a new parachute coming over from the states as we speak.

"And when it warms up and the skydiving season starts properly, I'll be straight back in the sky.

"Yeah I can't wait."

He is determined to embrace his second chance as he enters Iron Man Barcelona in October in aid of the air ambulance that helped him.

Mr Oakes has managed to convince his boss, who is scared of jumping out of a plane, to also take part.

He wants to inspire others to take on new challenges, saying: "You have one life and you've got to grasp every moment."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...