Claude Graff portrait: ‘On an awayday, Bear Grylls’ girlfriend Vicky Brown stops us from killing bear in Africa’


I had just left the Royal Family Balmoral Castle and was on my way back to England when our car hit a log. I was thrown over my seat and knocked unconscious. I remember walking slowly into the car, thinking: “What on earth is going on?” I woke up after several hours of unspeakable suffering. My arm was blown off and I had as many as 10 broken ribs. I remained unconscious as my toes poked through the netting. And I remember the screaming. I have a clear recollection of walking in a daze for four long miles before my house and rescue helicopter arrived. I never lived in England again.

I am a savage when it comes to the great outdoors and I have never been anything but thrilled by its wonders – yet I will never forget the shock and terror I felt that day. Even now I have to get that horrible image out of my mind. And I will never again set foot in the woods. It’s a wonderful place, but there is no going back.

GETTY The family hunting lodge

There are times when, looking back, I think I wasn’t meant to have survived, but even now I wonder how I managed to survive. The injury that cut my carotid artery almost ended my life – but instead caused a huge wound in my jugular vein. I bled to death without a heartbeat in the back of an ambulance. It’s a cliché to say my children felt utterly helpless while I was still conscious, but with you little people, all I could think was how they must have wanted to walk through these woods with me while I was still breathing.

GETTY Claude is one of a number of Bear Grylls’ family members to suffer a life-threatening injury

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