A daredevil who leapt more than 40 metres from a helicopter without a parachute into the Solent escaped with nothing more serious than a bruised bum.
Former paratrooper John Bream, from Havant in Hampshire, carried out his record-breaking feat off Hayling Island on Monday to raise money for charities supporting former servicemen.
Despite concerns that he had entered the water at a slight angle and may have hit his head, Mr Bream said he walked away from the stunt with just a bruised posterior.
Nicknamed “the Flying Fish”, Mr Bream told the PA news agency: “I got taken to hospital as a precaution – I got the all-clear and a pat on the bum and then out I went.
“So yeah, just a bit of a bruised bottom.”
The adrenalin junkie said he had been caught by a gust of wind during the three-second fall and hit the water at a tilt.
“It was supposed to be perfect pencil but I had my backside out a bit,” he said.
“And it was a little bit higher than planned – we were going to go for 130ft (39.6m) and we ended up at 140ft (42.7m).”
The 34-year-old’s safety team had estimated he would submerge to between six and eight metres, but Mr Bream said the wind meant he went deeper than expected, leaving him “a bit disorientated” when he surfaced.
“The trip to the hospital – it was literally my safety crew, they were insistent and they just said ‘no, we’d like you to go, get checked out’, and I don’t argue with them. Whatever they say goes,” he said.
Despite the two years of training, the father-of-three will not be resting on his laurels.
“I’m a modern-day Evel Knievel! I’ve just got to ride a motorbike. I’ve got loads more stunts, loads more world records. I’m a modern-day daredevil,” he said.
He refused to reveal what is in the pipeline, saying only it would involve “more jumps from height into water but perhaps involving different aircraft, technology, machinery and perhaps fire”.
“Can’t give away too much,” he said.
Mr Bream’s 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter were on one of the safety boats as he made the jump.
“They loved it. They were laughing and joking and my daughter said ‘I can’t wait until I’m older and then I’m going to beat your record by a foot’ – she’s the toughest one,” he said.
Mr Bream was raising funds and awareness for service personnel mental health charity All Call Signs and the Support Our Paras charity.
He said it is not clear how much he has raised so far and should have a final total later this week.
Speaking in July, Mr Bream said: “I am a former member of the Parachute Regiment and served with them around the globe in peacetime and war fighting.
“Having served with some of the finest people, hearing about veteran suicide and knowing good people that have sadly taken their own lives is so painful.
“The transition from the military is difficult but I want to show that we don’t need to live in the past and we all can still achieve brilliance.”
To support his charities visit gofundme.com/f/Highest-jump-into-water?fbclid=IwAR2TSkwi-23DlTK1v2jvdOEGRshHKqjku5j4PNrQtrDPc2XoZVPdxLudZac.
Although it has yet to be confirmed by the Guinness World Records, Mr Bream should now hold the world record for the highest freefall jump into water from a helicopter, and a record for the highest jump into UK waters.
He has said in the past he aims to beat the current world record for a land jump, which stands at 191ft (58.2m).
It was achieved by Brazilian-Swiss extreme athlete Laso Schaller jumping from a platform at Cascata del Salto waterfall in Switzerland in 2015.