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Thu, Oct 11, 2007

Ouch! Branson's Big Jump Goes, Ah, Not Quite As Planned

Split Trousers, Building 'Bump' End Rappelling Stunt

It didn't end well. Sir Richard Branson's leap off the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas -- part of a marketing stunt to promote the launch of service on Virgin America to the city -- ended Wednesday night with his trousers split, and a grimace on his face most guys can probably relate to.

As ANN reported, Branson (right) planned to smoothly rapel 407 feet off the resort hotel's Fantasy tower Wednesday night, dressed in a tuxedo and throwing handfuls of free Virgin America tickets to the crowd on his way down.

Instead, in the words of London's Daily Mail newspaper, Branson wound up with "a bum deal."

The rebel billionaire -- no stranger to flashy gimmicks, nor the occasional miscue during aforesaid stunts -- instead impacted the side of the tower about halfway down, still on the bungee line but clearly in pain. He also split his trousers during the collision.

The impact left Branson clearly embarrassed -- as he tried to cover the pants split with his hands -- and more than a bit winded.

(Consider that the harness Branson jumped in was secured, in part, by straps that run between his legs... yeah. Like we said, many guys know that feeling -- Ed.)

"The wind picked up as he was coming down and as he bumped against the building, his trousers split very quickly," one source told the Daily Mail. "He has a few bumps and bruises but he did not have to go to hospital and he is counting himself lucky.

"Richard is laughing about it now but he was shocked at the time."

Branson was lowered to the ground by Virgin staffers. He was able to walk away from the scene, and thanked reporters for coming before hastily retreating into the hotel.

FMI: www.virginamerica.com

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