London, Dec.1 : A British hero has revealed how he fell 50 feet and broke his back trying to save his girlfriend from the Mumbai murder squad.
As gunshots drew closer and flames licked around the corridor outside their third floor hotel room, Will Pike and Kelly Doyle prayed-and knotted sheets together to make a rope to escape out the window.
Will, 28, said: "I could only think of Kelly's safety. That's why I went first, to make sure the rope was okay."
But it wasn't. Just 10 feet into the daring 60 feet descent, it gave way and he plummeted to the pavement below the Taj Mahal Palace.
Will, who was ready to defend Kelly with a penknife and cutlery from his room, added: "Clearly I never did my boy scout knot badge because my knots were rubbish.
"I remember looking up and seeing the ledge going away and the rope falling down with me.
"The next thing I was on the ground looking at shards of bone sticking out of my wrist."
He broke three bones in his spine, shattered his pelvis and broke both arms. He has no sensation in his legs and doctors are concerned he may never walk again.
Seconds after his fall, fire engines arrived to pluck Kelly from the blazing building on a hydraulic platform.
The couple's ordeal began on the final night of what had been an idyllic holiday. After two weeks in Indian beach paradise Goa they returned to Mumbai for a night in the luxury hotel before flying home.
After checking in last Wednesday night, they popped out for a meal at The Leopold-the backpackers restaurant that, just minutes later, would be the first place the terrorists hit.
They went for a drink in the Taj bar at about 8.30 p.m., then headed up to their room.
Moments later the terrorists-intent on killing as many Westerners as they could find-burst into the hotel's lobby, detonating grenades and spraying bullets.
Realising that the hotel was under siege, the couple switched off the lights, heaved furniture in front of the door as a barricade and huddled in the bathroom.
News of the World quoted Will as saying: "We were just sitting in the bathtub clutching each other, praying that this would not be the last time we could do that. The gunshots sounded really loud. They were getting closer and closer. We thought the gunmen must have been going through the rooms and executing people."
Kelly, 32, added: "Then there was a shot that sounded like it was in the room and we thought, 'That's it, we're going to be executed'.
"I was saying we should let them take us hostage but his idea was to find something sharp so we could get the gunman when he came in. There was a knife and fork in the room and a couple of glasses and we had a penknife."
It was then the couple, who live together in Camden, north London-began gathering material to make their getaway rope.