Former paratrooper eyes up breaking two Guinness World Records leaping from helicopter into sea off Portsmouth coast
CORONAVIRUS setbacks will not stop this daring ex-paratrooper from leaping into the record books – literally.
Daredevil John Bream is determined to hurl himself 200ft from a helicopter in a bid to break three Guinness World Records.
The 34-year-old – known as The Flying Fish – aims to achieve the world’s highest jump into water and the highest free jump from a helicopter.
Initially he had hoped to tackle the death-defying feat in May, plunging into Adrenalin Quarry near Plymouth.
But the pandemic scuppered these plans. Now he has set his sights on a new date in September – and will be leaping into the water off Southsea’s coast.
John, who served for five years and was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, hopes his antics will raise awareness of veteran suicides and money for Southsea-based veteran charity, All Call Signs.
The dad-of-three from Widley said: ‘They leave the military and they give up on their lives and they shouldn’t.
‘It’s heartbreaking. I’ve had friends who have killed themselves. I’ve been in war zones with these men and we got through it. Then we come back and their demons take over and they die. It’s horrendous. These men have got families – wives, kids - it’s just horrible.’
The current record achieved in 2015 by Laso Schaller from Switzerland stands at 58m, but John will jump from 61m (200ft).
He will need to be able to surface unaided and pull himself out of the water, and is feeling optimistic even though the attempt ended in a dislocated hip and, John said, the chance of successfully jumping is 20 per cent.
‘The last guy who did it dislocated his hip,’ said John, who has previously worked on helicopter jumps with TV adventurer Bear Grylls. ‘There’s a hell of a lot of risk. It can go awfully wrong.
‘I’m going to be hitting the water at about 80mph. I’ve got to clench absolutely everything, keeping my feet and knees together making sure I’m in the perfect, upright position.
‘You don’t want to take the impact on the neck or on the chin. You don’t want your arms out because you’ll break your arms.’
John, who went to Crookhorn College and boxed with Waterlooville Boxing Club before becoming the Army Individual Championship’s featherweight champion in 2004, added it was great to tackle the jump in front of his home crowd.
‘You can’t beat the crowds of Portsmouth,’ he said. ‘There’s nothing like it. I couldn’t think of a better place to try this.’
Dan Arnold, co-founder of All Call Signs, was in awe of John’s courage and urged the people of Portsmouth to get behind him.
He said: ‘Jumping from a helicopter into water is no small feat. I know he has already damaged himself in training.
‘It’s great people are raising veterans’ issues at this kind of level - especially for organisations like us, who have seen a huge decrease in funding following Covid-19.
‘So it’s great to have veterans like John going out and really pushing the envelope of what’s possible to try and raise money and awareness.’
John is seeking help in funding the attempt. To support him, see his Go Fund Me page here.