msnbc.com
updated 12/21/2006 11:55:56 AM ET 2006-12-21T16:55:56

A skydiving instructor in New Zealand escaped death by landing in a blackberry bush after his parachute failed during a 15,000-foot free-fall last week, according to reports.

Michael Holmes, 25, of Britain spun out of control when his main parachute apparently became tangled.

“When the second parachute didn’t open, I realized it was all over,” he told The Times of London from his hospital bed. “I was going to die. You don’t have much time to say goodbye.”

“The next thing I saw were friends, firemen, ambulances and police dogs,” he added.

Holmes survived the fall by landing in shrubbery less than 300 feet from a parking lot near Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, suffering a punctured lung and a broken ankle.

Holmes, who was wearing a helmet-mounted video camera, was taping a group of 10 people from Taupo Tandem Skydiving when the mishap occurred, according to The Age, an Australian news Web site.

The entire plunge, including the landing, was captured on videotape.

John Siddles, a witness, told London’s Daily Telegraph: “One of the skydivers coming down was going round and round, and he looked like he was all tangled up or something.”

The Daily Telegraph quoted the manager of the skydiving center, Hamish Funnell, as saying that Holmes was in good spirits at the hospital, “cracking jokes and hassling the nurses.”

Police and the New Zealand Parachute Industry Association are investigating the incident.

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