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Luke Aikins has opened up about his moment of panic during his historic 25,000ft jump from an aeroplane without a parachute. Watch the breath-taking stunt here:
The skydiver launched himself from the plane 7,620 metres above ground, plummeting to the ground without a parachute as a live TV audience watched on through clammy hands.
The 2016 'Heaven Sent' stunt saw the Red Bull athlete make history, becoming the first person to jump from such a height and land safely without a parachute.
But while it appeared to go as swimmingly as possible for something so wild, there was a moment before landing when Luke's heart was in his mouth.
The 47-year-old spent the two-minute freefall wholly focussed on guiding himself towards the 10,000-square-foot net he was relying on to break his fall. But shortly before landing, he found himself with a decision to make.
Prior to hitting the net, it was imperative he flipped over, so that he was facing upwards. If he didn't do that, and landed face first instead, he could break his back - or worse.
However, he wasn't lined up with the centre of the net, so he had to either spend another precious second steering himself central, or just nail the flip and accept he was off-centre.
Luke told LADbible: "In that moment I made the choice of 'I won, that's it, all I have to do is roll'."
But while this may have been the safe move, there was a microsecond when he was facing up to the sky, rocketing towards the Earth - and not feeling the safe embrace of the net that he'd anticipated.
He said: "I did that roll to my back, and because I didn't move over to centre up exactly, I had a little extra time.
"So when I rolled to my back, I was about a half a beat early. So I tensed up, clenched up my fingers, I got ready for impact - and I didn't feel it."
Wow, now that is a heart-dropping feeling on a different scale - 25,000ft worth of dropping, to be precise.
Luke continued: "There was a millisecond of like '[shocked inhale]'. You didn't even have time to get that to register in your mind. That 'oh my god, I missed' - I didn't even didn't get that thought out.
"But you started, and then - wham, you're in the net."
Attempting to convey this unfathomable feeling in a relatable way - for those among us who don't jump out of planes without parachutes - he said: "I compare it to, at night, reaching for a step in the dark, and you feel like you're gonna fall down the stairs, but you're like, an inch away.
"Then your foot touches and your like, 'What was I worried about? It's not that big a deal.'
"But I had that had right before I hit."
Watch him relive this epic step-missing moment here:
Presumably then, having pulled off the ridiculous stunt, Luke is happy to put his feet up and chill out with his family now?
"No way, man," he said.
"I have two more projects I'm working on, one hopefully coming up real soon that I can't wait to be able to tell you about.
"But I'm going to involve a lot of skills, flying aeroplanes, skydiving. I'm going to make it a big project where I'm going to take everything that I've spent my life working on, and put it all together for one thing."
Keep your eyes peeled for that then, folks.
Featured Image Credit: Christian Pondella
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