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Man woke to see whole body on fire after 'dying' while urban exploring

By Hollie Bone News Reporter & Jonathan Chubb

An urban explorer has spoken of the moment his adventure all went wrong and he was turned into a "human fireball".

Darren Harris said he died for several minutes before making a miraculous recovery. The 29-year-old has opened up about the moment 11,000 volts shot through his body and has shown the after-effects of that night. The bolt of electricity has left him with third-degree burns across 47 per cent of his body.

The Mirror reports that the incident also left him with exposed bone in both arms.

Read More: Devastated family's message to e-scooter riders as 'loved' son dies in crash

Darren found himself next to what he thought was a dead switchboard and electric mains in an abandoned steelworks in Wolverhampton back in November 2020. He was there collecting scrap and assumed the electricity had been turned off as the building was due to be demolished.

However, the scaffolder was to be proved incredibly wrong when he put his hand on a live copper bar, instantly catapulting him across the room due to the voltage. Somehow Darren regained consciousness and was able to flag down a passing ambulance.

WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT

The scaffolder put his hand on a live copper bar and was instantly 'catapulted' across the room by the voltage (Darren Harris)
He had been placed in an induced coma as doctors battled with his devastating injuries (Darren Harris)

For several minutes Darren said he was laid dead on the floor, but recalls the moment he came back to life and saw his whole body on fire. He's now been described as a "medical miracle" by doctors after surviving the ordeal.

Darren, from Manchester, said: "I put my hand on the bar and my body was catapulted across the room.

"My life flashed before my eyes and I was dead for a few minutes.

"I don't know what brought me back but I remember waking up and my whole body was on fire, I was a human fireball.

"I ran for my life and somehow managed to scale a 10ft fence not knowing the damage that had already been done to my body.

"My forearms were completely debrided, I could see right to the bone.

"My face was hanging off like a flap and my windpipe was exposed.

"I was stood on the side of the road for a couple of minutes when an ambulance came round the corner.

"I threw myself in front of it and the next thing I remember is waking up 27 days later."

Darren had been transported to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where he had been placed in an induced coma as doctors battled with his injuries including multiple organ failure and sepsis.

Experts performed 23 surgeries including skin grafts, a craniotomy to relieve pressure from his brain and a pioneering surgery to apply artificial skin, known as Biodegradable Temporising Matrix, to his burns.

Darren has been left with no nose or ears, and has also lost mobility in both hands (Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

Darren claims the surgeons told him they had "never seen anything like it" in their 30 year long careers.

He said: "The doctors and nurses couldn't believe it, that I even survived the initial injury, never mind the fact that I flagged down a passing ambulance and then survived the gruelling surgeries.

"They told me I shouldn't be here, I'm not just lucky to be alive, I'm one in a million."

As a result of his burns, Darren has been left with no nose or ears, and has also lost mobility in both hands, leaving him unable to work.

Disfigured by his injuries, Darren has battled depression and suicidal thoughts, but says he came to realise he had been given a "second chance".

Now he has launched a GoFundMe to pay for pioneering surgery to 3D print a live reconstruction of his ears using his stem cells.

Darren said: "I have been through the worst pain in my entire life, I can't even describe it, and was left in a terrible state.

"I've struggled to go out and socialise, I'm conscious about the way I look and I've thought about suicide during my recovery.

"But then I realised those surgeons didn't put all that time into me and save my life for me to waste it.

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Dive Deeper:
Man who became 'human fireball' after 11,000-volt shock was 'dead' for minutes
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT Darren Harris, 29, had been urban exploring when he stumbled across a live mains box and was…
'I was a human fireball' - Man who died for 'several minutes' after 11,000-volt shock dubbed medical miracle
Darren Harris, 29, from Manchester, had been urban exploring when he stumbled across a live electric mains
Man who became 'human fireball' after 11k volt shock 'saw life flash before eyes'
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES Darren Harris had been collecting scrap while urban exploring an old steel works .
North East man became 'human fireball' and was 'dead' after 11,000-volt shock
Darren Harris touched a live copper bar which 'catapulted' the 29-year-old across an abandoned steelworks
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Urban explorer 'died' for minutes after 11,000-volt electric shock turned him into a 'fireball'
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT Darren Harris says his life flashed before him after the power of the shock catapulted him across…
Britain's Got Talent star shares inspirational message after being left paralysed in horror accident
Welsh stuntman Jonathan Goodwin, who has also appeared on the American version of the ITV talent show, was left with…
Get all your news in one place