A former paratrooper says he escaped with a "sore bum" after jumping without a parachute from an aircraft into the sea during a world record attempt.

John Bream, 34, from West Lothian believes he now holds the record for the world's highest free jump from a helicopter into water.

He also hopes to have broken the British record for the highest jump into UK waters. Both have to be officially confirmed.

He leapt around 140ft above the water but was then seen to land awkwardly in the Solent on Monday.

The former member of the Parachute Regiment is said to have hit his head on entry and was briefly unconscious when divers reached him off Hayling Island, near Portsmouth.

The distance he plummeted is the equivalent of a 10-storey building and it is estimated he hit the water at around 80 miles per hour.

Mr Bream, head founder of Project RV, which supports British elite forces veterans and their families with needs that are not covered by the MOD, or their insurance, admitted that if he had got technique wrong "the water can absolutely rip you in half".

But Mr Bream, who said he wanted to prove "veterans can still achieve brilliance" was later seen waving from a boat apparently signally he was okay.


He was also walking and chatting with paramedics as he was checked over before being taken to hospital.

The father-of-three was raising funds for service personnel mental health charity, All Call Signs and the Support Our Paras charity. He also wants to raise awareness of veteran suicide.

He spent 18 months training for the stunt as even getting it slightly wrong could have left him seriously injured or even dead.

Mr Bream, who served for five years and was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Northern Ireland had a target of on his Just Giving page of £5,000. On Tuesday he had reached £5,128.

But he says he hoped his daredevil feat would also make the nation smile during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is at present no record holder for the highest jump into water from an aircraft, according to Guinness World Records.

The current world record for the highest jump into water is 191ft (58 metres) - but that was from land.

That feat was achieved by Brazilian-Swiss extreme athlete Laso Schaller during a leap from a cliff at Cascata del Salto, Switzerland, in 2015.

He said the previous record for diving into British waters was 122ft and the 40ft record for freefalling into water from an aircraft was held by SAS Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton.

John originally wanted to break the record in May with plans to jump into Adrenalin Quarry near Plymouth but the coronavirus pandemic made it too difficult especially when it caused a sponsor to pull out.

He said: "I'm not injured, a bit of a bruised bum but all good. I went to hospital to be checked and was in and out within the hour.”


Before the world record attempt

"Yes that was the highest jump into British waters and the world's highest jump from an aircraft into water."

Mr Bream's partner is Nadine Harkness, the aviation firefighter from Livingston, who used the Channel 4 series SAS:Who Dares Wins to try and help her wrestle the trauma of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

She was among the first group of women to take part in the show, aired last year where recruits are forced to go through “hell” in the Andes, mirroring the Ministry of Defence’s decision to open up SAS selection to women.

She is also a co-founder of Project RV, a non-profit project described as a “mind, body, spirit, and purpose driven programme focused on health and/or integration”, to enable veterans to take part in activities and projects for recreational and health benefits.

Mr Bream said it was a "fantastic day" and said its success was down to "lots of effort and professionalism".

"I had a truly brilliant team who I can not thank enough,"he said. "Best of British.

"I was doing this to raise the awareness and help prevent veteran suicide and to show veteran's can still achieve brilliance.

"And to put a smile on people's faces during these tough times."