Bear Grylls reveals he almost died when his parachute failed – My world just went black”

Bear Grylls has told how his ‘world went black’ after he broke his back when his parachute failed while he was skydiving.

The 49 year old TV adventurer was lucky to survive with his life and said he should have been paralysed following the terrifying incident – but luckily he missed severing his spinal cord by millimetres. Bear, aged 21 at the time, was skydiving with friends in Zimbabwe when his parachute failed to inflate at 16,000 feet.

He had been in Southern Africa serving in the Territorial Army with the SAS in 1996 and was enjoying a well deserved break when the accident happened. And, appearing on Tuesday's Good Morning Britain, Bear recalled the moment he realised his parachute had failed and his desperate attempts to save himself.

He said: “I think at the time you’re just desperately trying to sort it out. It was getting dark, you’re just in a sort of fuzz of, ‘what’s wrong, can I sort this, have I got time to go for this reserve?’

“And then, you know, in a heartbeat, ‘boom’, the world sort of went black. I came to, a long journey back to eventually this African hospital and I remember a doctor sticking a syringe in my back and suddenly the pain going and me thinking, “I’m better’, trying to get up. And they were going, ‘you’re not better’.”

Dad of three Bear, who is married to wife Shara, went on to say that he did not open the reserve and also described the impact the incident had on him. “That was a difficult time,” he said. “I broke my back in three places, I was in Africa at the time, and spent months and months back in military rehabilitation in the UK afterwards.”

Bear has also previously discussed the incident on the Radio Times podcast. He said: “It was a dark time. Physicality was such an inherent part of my life, my upbringing, my job in the military – and suddenly I couldn’t even reach a bathroom without being in agony.”

He spent 18 months fighting to recover his strength but his outlook on life had changed.

Bear added: ”I had an awareness that I was lucky – I should have been paralysed. I was within millimetres of severing my spinal cord. I’d been given a second chance, and it gave me a gratitude for life that I didn’t have before.”

Bear became one of the youngest people to ever climb Everest two years after his spinal injury at 23 years old. Last month it emerged he led a secret expedition to Everest earlier this year, with the aim of recovering the body of his friend and the brother of Spencer Matthews, who died there in 1999.

Michael Matthews was just 22 when he died in a mountaineering accident hours after becoming the youngest Briton to conquer the world's highest peak – surpassing his friend Bear. The TV adventurer is friends with the Matthews family, including Michael's brothers, former Made in Chelsea star Spencer, 34, and his older brother James, 47, who is married to Pippa Middleton, the sister of Kate Middleton.

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