“That’s what I live for,” Corliss told ABC News’ Dan Harris in an exclusive phone interview today from the South African hospital room where he is recuperating from the crash.
“The only reason I’m getting better is so that I can jump again,” he said. “That’s what I do. There’s absolutely nothing in this world that’s going to stop me from jumping.”
Corliss, 35, has spent the past five weeks in a South African hospital after a Jan. 16 crash on Table Mountain in Cape Town that was captured on camera and posted on YouTube.
The video shows Corliss, known as “Bird Man,” taking off in one of his specially designed wing-suits and zipping down the mountain before misjudging the size of the mountain’s ledge, slamming his lower body into the rocks and then spiraling into the air and crashing into bushes.
Corliss, who has made a name for himself making more than 1,000 jumps, including from landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge, said he was convinced that this was the jump that had killed him.
“One part of my brain was just going through this concept of fly, fly, fly, fly, keep going, keep going,” he told Harris. “And then the other part of my brain was like going, well, why even pull at all, basically you’re dead dude.”
Corliss was rescued by authorities at Table Mountain National Park and airlifted to a hospital with broken bones throughout his legs. He is expected to be released from the hospital Friday and vows the experience won’t dissuade his passion.
“That’s so cute, hahaha,” Corliss laughed when asked if he was now going to quit jumping.
Profiled by “20/20” in 2010, Corliss explained that jumping has been his passion his entire life.
“I was about 5 years old and I was watching these birds, and I remember seeing them open their wings and start to fly,” Corliss told “20/20.” “And I remember going, you know what, when I get older I’m going to do that.”
Corliss uses a flying squirrel-style wing-suit to travel at speeds of up to 300 mph and steer through the air during freefall. Watch Corliss explain how his suit works here.
“If you want to do something spectacular, something special, you have to be willing to take really unique risks,” he told “20/20.”
After his accident, authorities at Table Mountain National Park said that they do not issue permits for BASE jumps and that Corliss did not have permission to jump at the park. They said they will fine Corliss and could also press charges against him.
ABC News’ Alice Gomstyn contributed to this report.