The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Top Gear’s Hammond in fireball car horror
New car horror for Richard Hammond...but he pulls himself from smash described by Clarkson as ‘most frightening I’ve ever seen’
FORMER Top Gear star Richard Hammond cheated death yesterday after a dramatic high-speed car crash in Switzerland.
Horrifying footage captured the moment the daredevil TV presenter’s £2 million electric supercar swerved off a road before rolling down a hill and bursting into flames during filming for his TV show The Grand Tour 2.
Incredibly, Hammond, 47, was able to pull himself from the wreckage before the car caught fire. He was airlifted to hospital with a fractured knee.
It is the second time Hammond has escaped from a terrifying crash. He was in a coma for two weeks in September 2006 after the jet-powered Vampire car he was driving for Top Gear at 288mph suffered a burst tyre during a land-speed record attempt.
Of yesterday’s accident, co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson tweeted: ‘It was the biggest crash I’ve ever seen and the most frightening but incredibly, and thankfully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.’
The show’s executive producer Andy Wilman told how Clarkson and fellow presenter James May raced towards the scene of the crash, convinced that Hammond was dead.
‘They were staggered that he had got out alive because there was just nothing left. If Richard had been a few seconds slower getting out, he would have been incinerated.’
Last month, after being knocked out in a motorbike accident while filming in Africa, Hammond swore never to take part in any more dangerous stunts for the sake of his ‘beautiful’ wife and two teenage daughters. ‘I’m not going to risk leaving them,’ he said.
The father-of-two was driving the white Rimac supercar around the Hemberg Hill Climb in the pretty village of St Gallen in northern Switzerland for his Amazon Prime show when the horrifying accident happened yesterday.
Photographs from the scene showed the flipped car in flames by the side of a road before the blaze was extinguished by firefighters, leaving it a burnt-out hulk.
Trials were being held on a closed section of mountain road ahead of the race today.
There were reports that Hammond, May and Clarkson had driven the track three times in different cars before the crash.
Mr Hammond was pictured last Thursday charging the Croatian-made car, with May at the wheel. He was also seen earlier yesterday filming in the town of Toggenburg, before making training runs for the mountain race which, according to spokesman Marco Moser, will go ahead as planned today.
A spokesman for The Grand Tour said: ‘Richard Hammond very fortunately suffered no serious injury. Nobody else was in the car or involved in the accident. The cause is being investigated.’
A source close to the presenter – who lives in a castle in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, with wife Amanda, 46, and daughters Izzy, 16, and Willow, 13 – said: ‘Richard has a fractured knee. But he’s going to be fine. He’s very lucky.’
‘They were staggered that he got out alive’