'I thought I was going to die': Helmet saves billionaire Richard Branson

Virgin billionaire Sir Richard Branson says his life "flashed before my eyes" after a horror bicycle crash in the Caribbean, but escaped with only minor injuries thanks to his helmet.

Branson was training for the upcoming Virgin Strive Challenge with his children Holly and Sam on Virgin Gorga island earlier this week when he hit a hump in the road during the night ride.

Injured billionaire Richard Branson. Source: Virgin

"The next thing I knew, I was being hurled over the handlebars and my life was literally flashing before my eyes," Branson said.

The 66-year-old said he feared he'd be paralysed by the accident but credits his survival with wearing a helmet.

Branson was lucky to escape serious injury. Source: Virgin

"I really thought I was going to die," he said.

"I went flying head-first towards the concrete road but fortunately my shoulder and cheek took the brunt of the impact, and I was wearing a helmet that saved my life."

Branson was lucky to escape serious injury. Source: Virgin

The adventurous billionaire suffered cuts to his knee, chin, shoulder and torso, tore ligaments and cracked his cheekbone, but says he's "extremely fortunate".

"I really couldn't believe I was alive, let alone not paralysed," he said.

Branson being treated at the scene. Source: Virgin

"My biggest hardship is having to drink tea out of a straw.

"And being called elephant man by a six-year-old."

Branson drinking tea through a straw. Source: Virgin

It's not the first lucky escape for the 66-year-old this year, after losing teeth during a tennis match twice, running through a bullet proof door and being attacked by a stingray.

"Over the years I've had many brushes with death," he said.

"Thankfully good fortune has smiled on me so far."

Branson said he is still planning to compete in the Virgin Strive Challenge next month.