12 OCTOBER 2007

As one of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Branson is no stranger to taking potentially risky leaps of faith as far as his business ventures are concerned. The Virgin boss's daredevil streak landed him in a spot of bother this week, however, when a publicity stunt in Las Vegas didn't go exactly as planned, leaving him with ripped pants and bruises.

The 57-year-old tycoon threw himself off the side of Las Vegas' 407-feet-high Palm Casino Hotel in a bungee-jump-meets abseiling descent to mark the inaugural flight from San Fransisco to the desert city of his new low-cost airline.

Although it started well enough with Richard – safely strapped into a harness - taking a running jump from the hotel's roof, the stunt ran into problems as he descended rapidly towards the crowds assembled below. Lowered on a special cable similar to those used in the Spiderman films, and scattering thousands of dollars' worth of free air tickets en route, the flamboyant businessman was dashed against the building twice by the strong wind. While the knocks caused him to wince with pain, and left him with splits in the seat of his pants, he suffered no serious injuries, however.

Once he'd recovered from the unexpected battering the thrill-seeking mogul made light of the mishap. "I never thought I would take the saying 'flying by the seat of my pants' quite so literally," he joked.

Photo: ©
The 65-year-old business tycoon came a cropper during a bungee jump-meets-abseiling publicity stunt, when strong winds dashed him against the side of a Las Vegas hotelPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
Luckily Richard - pictured prior to the daredevil antics with former Baywatch beauty Pamela Anderson - was left with nothing more serious than ripped trousers and bruises Photo: © Getty Images