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Urban explorer 'died' for minutes after 11,000-volt electric shock turned him into a 'fireball'

By Hollie Bone & Elaine Blackburne

An urban explorer has told how he "died for minutes" after suffering a massive electric shock as he scoured an abandoned steelworks. Darren Harris said his life flashed before him as he came round and found his whole body on fire.

Incredibly he managed to "run for his life", scale a 10ft fence and then throw himself in front of a passing ambulance. He says after that he can remember nothing until he woke up 27 days later, reports The Mirror.

The 29-year-old told how he had been urban exploring and gathering scrap when the accident happened. As he looked around the empty buildings he saw a switchboard and electric mains.

With the buildings set to be cleared he thought they must have been disconnected. However he discovered he was wrong when he put his hand on a live copper bar.

He was hurled across the room by the power of the shock. As he came round he says he discovered he was turned into "a human fireball".

Darren suffered major burns across his body (Darren Harris)

He said: "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. These included 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 claims the surgeons told him they had "never seen anything like it" in their 30 year careers. He says doctors have dubbed him as a medical miracle after he survived third degree burns across 47 per cent of his body, which left the bone exposed in both arms.

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.

Darren Harris, 29, before the accident (Darren Harris)

"I'm not just lucky to be alive. I'm one in a million."

Now, 18 months later, as a result of his burns, Darren has been left with no nose or ears. He has also lost mobility in both hands, leaving him unable to work.

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

Darren Harris, 29, from Teesside who became a "human fireball" when he suffered an 11,000 volt shock (Any Commins/Daily Mirror)

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.

"I have been given a second chance at life and I'm grateful to be here. I want to tell my story and inspire people and show them that they can get through the hardest thing in their lives and still come out the other side."

To donate to Darren's GoFundMe click here

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea

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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
Man woke to see whole body on fire after 'dying' while urban exploring
He died for several minutes after touching the live cable
Mum-of-two's jaw replaced three times after root canal led to horror infection
Meighan Maselli's became so infected doctors had to remove nearly all her lower jaw and replace it with a metal…
Get all your news in one place