Jimmy Buffett's Frightening Fall -- Caught on Tape

1/26/2011 10:19 AM PST

Jimmy Buffett's Frightening Fall -- Caught on Tape

Jimmy Buffett plummeted off the stage in Australia last night and crashed HARD into the concrete floor -- and the devastating accident was all captured on tape ... and obtained by TMZ. 

The footage shows Buffett casually strolling towards the front of the stage when he clearly misjudges the end ... and literally steps off the edge.

Moments after Buffett hit the ground, security rushed to the singer's aid.  

Sean Fogarty, who was also front and center, tells TMZ Jimmy was doing an encore at the end of the concert called "Lovely Cruise" and walking along the edge of the stage when the lighting person splashed "a huge flash of light" along the stage, making it impossible to see and he fell.  Fogarty says the next thing he knew he heard Buffett's head strike the metal on his way to the floor.

Another audience member who was close to the stage, tells TMZ a slightly different story .... that it looked as if Buffett was about to jump off the stage to shake hands when he misjudged the jump and fell.  The audience member also says he saw Buffett's head strike a metal strip on his way down.

An audience member in the front row tells TMZ it appeared Buffett was unconscious for about 5-10 minutes and that he had a huge gash on his head. Paramedics arrived 15 minutes later and was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.

UPDATE: According to Buffett's website he is "doing well and will be released tomorrow."

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