News World News

Thursday 12 December 2019

Surviving Virgin Galactic pilot says 'It’s a miracle I’m alive'

Wreckage from the crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo lies in the desert near Cantil, California
Wreckage from the crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo lies in the desert near Cantil, California

Anita McSorley

The pilot who miraculously survived the Virgin Galactic spaceship disaster has opened up about his ordeal.

Peter Siebold (43) suffered serious injuries when he was blasted from the wreckage of the disintegrating rocket ship at 50,000 feet above earth.

The married father-of-two managed to parachute to safety after the crash on October 31st which killed his friend and co-pilot Mike Alsbury.

Speaking about the horrifying ordeal he explained how he regained consciousness half way though his fall.

“I must have lost consciousness at first,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

“I can’t remember anything about what happened but I must have come to during the fall.

“I remember waving to the chase plane and giving them the thumbs-up to tell them I was OK.

“I know it’s a miracle I survived,” he added.

His father Dr Klais Siebold, who is also a pilot, said he was "in good spirits" after he visited his son at his home in Techahapi, California, where he is recovering.

“He doesn’t know how he managed to exit SpaceShipTwo,” he said.

“They don’t have an ejection seat. They have a panel they take out and they have to crawl towards the hole and jump out. But the plane broke up suddenly.

“I’m sure he was unconscious because he could not have maintained consciousness at 50,000ft.

“He doesn’t remember anything from the actual crash. He came to during the descent. He must have woken up about halfway down.

“When he was on the way down the chase plane was circling him and he was waving and giving the thumbs-up to indicate he was all right while he was dangling from the parachute.

"He broke the head of the humerus bone that sits in the right shoulder. He’s got a rib and lung contusion and there is an issue with his eyes because of the cold. It was around minus 60 degrees up there.

“It’s a medical miracle he survived,” he added.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News