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BASE jumper reveals how he cheated death after his parachute failed and sent him plunging 180ft off a cliff

Extraordinary footage from his helmet camera shows him going into a face-first freefall, before his parachute opens at the last moment.

Horrified pals also filmed the thrill-seeker as he tumbled the height of 11 London buses.

Chad, 27, said: “I was so concerned about getting a good push off I messed up the pilot chute and threw it down instead of up.As soon as I jumped I knew it had gone wrong. I thought I was going to die.

“It was three seconds between jumping and hitting the rocks. The ground was coming towards me when it shouldn’t. My parachute finally opened just before I hit the ground. If it hadn’t then I would have died. If the drop had been a couple of feet less I would be dead. I was milliseconds from death.”

Chad, of Maidstone, Kent, suffered four broken vertebrae and broken pelvis. He was winched by helicopter coastguards to the top of the cliffs.

An air ambulance then took him in a critical condition 75 miles to a specialist trauma unit at King’s College Hospital, South London. He has been fitted with a back brace and is using a wheelchair.

But he took his first steps with a frame on Wednesday after 12 days in hospital — and is thinking of attempt the leap again when he makes a full recovery.

The daredevil cameraman has completed more than 3,000 skydives and 230 base jumps, including somersaults off the 531ft high Beachy Head, in East Sussex.

He said: “I love flying. Base diving is great as its a pioneering sport. I was the first person to try that cliff. It’s taught me a lesson. I got a bit complacent after 230 base jumps.

“I don’t regret what happened. I could have done it better. I’m not going to rush into it but I think I'd have another go at it.”

Footage captures friends’ shouts and Chad rolling on the rocks as walkers rush to help. He recalled: “I was losing consciousness and couldn’t feel my arm. I remember it was hard to breath.

“I’m lucky to have these injuries as it could have been fatal or I might never have been able to walk again. They think I will make a full recovery. Hopefully, I will get back skydiving soon. It’s a lot safer.”

Chad’s girlfriend Raminta Petuchovaite, 32, added: “The police officer said, ‘Next time can you jump from somewhere higher’.”

Kent Police confirmed they were called to St Margaret’s Bay, in Dover, at 12.20pm on Friday December 28.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “HM Coastguard received a call from a member of the public reporting a person had fallen down the cliff after their parachute had failed to fully open.

"The casualty was winched onboard the Lydd Coastguard helicopter and was taken to the top of the cliff where he was transferred to the air ambulance.”

The South East Coast Ambulance Service said: “The patient was found conscious and breathing and flown by the air ambulance to King’s College Hospital in London for treatment.”

Base jumping is a fast-growing sport and considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world.

Robert Haggarty, 47, of Andover, Hants, crashed and died after launching himself off a 9,500ft peak in the Dolomites, in Italy, in June. And Dominik Loyen, 50, of Germany, died doing a base jump in Portugal in November.

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