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SKYDIVER SURVIVES 3-MILE PLUNGE WITHOUT A CHUTE; Bush breaks fall.

Byline: By Paula Murray

A SKYDIVER plummeted almost three miles after his parachutes failed to open - and survived.

Brit Michael Holmes's 15,000ft fall was broken by a blackberry bush.

The 25-year-old parachute instructor admitted his last thought before he hit the ground was: "S***, I'm going to die."

He escaped from his 120mph plunge with a broken ankle and a punctured lung.

The Jersey man's entire fall and the moments after were captured by a camera mounted on his helmet.

He hurtled to the ground when his main and reserve chutes both failed to open during the jump over Taupo in New Zealand's North Island.

Recovering in Waikato Hospital, Michael said: "When the second chute didn't open, I realised it was all over.

"I was going to die. You don't have much time to say goodbye. "I just said, 'S***, I'm going to die.

"The next thing I remember seeing was friends, firemen, ambulances and police dogs."

Firefighters had to slash a path through the bush to get to Michael, who was working for Taupo Tandem Skydiving.

He had been filming a group of 10 skydivers when the accident happened. None of them noticed he was in trouble.

Down below, local man John Siddles and his son Adam were watching the skydivers to decide whether to give it a go.

John said: "One of the skydivers was coming down and going round and round.

"He looked like he was all tangled up or something. He just came down, straight down. "We decided it wasn't for us."

The December 12 accident is being investigated by industry experts.

Michael has spent three years skydiving for the firm.

His fall is not the longest survived by a human.

Air stewardess Vesna Vulovic plunged 33,000ft strapped into her seat in the tail section of a Yugoslavian passenger plane after a mid-air bombing in 1972.

She was found on the snow covered side of a mountain with a fractured skull, broken legs and three shattered vertebrae.

CAPTION(S):

SURVIVOR: Michael Holmes
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 22, 2006
Words:338
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