More details have been revealed about Richard Hammond’s close call car crash.
As The Hamster recovers in hospital, an eye-witness has come forward to offer their account of the horrific accident.
The witness told the Mirror: “He crashed into the speed limit sign and off the road into the field below. He went down the hill about five or six metres.”
I had been filming further down the road. The man next to me shouted it was a crash and ran. I ran, too, and looked down into the field. I could see bits of the car on the road and on the grass.I would have been there about 20 seconds after the crash. The car was already burning. I saw fire. It was at the front. The car had done a 180-degree turn.
He was wearing red overalls and a white helmet, I think. There was a spectator who helped him. He supported him. He helped him get away from the car. Ten seconds later and a fireman was already running down to the burning car,” said the witness. “There were explosions, bangs – like fireworks. And dark smoke.
Poisonous fumes from the burning plastics. We were then told to get right back. It only took about one minute for the whole car to be on fire. It was only later on that I realised the driver had been Richard Hammond. I was on the bus going back to the start to then go home and someone told me.
One day after Richard Hammond crashed another car in spectacularly dangerous fashion, his co-presenter and on-screen friend, Jeremy Clarkson has described the incident.
In a blog, Clarkson recounted the scene, as Hammond lost control of the Rimac Concept One electric supercar he was driving for a segment of The Grand Tour.
He described a ‘coldness’ and fear upon seeing the burning wreck and – with his usual grace and class – reassured us all that Hammond managed to escape the car, confirming the Hamster was immediately seen to by paramedics after surviving the ‘biggest crash’ Jeremy had ever seen.
It was the biggest crash I've ever seen and the most frightening but incredibly, and thankfully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) June 10, 2017
Clarkson, 57, had just left the shoot when he heard there had been an accident – or an ‘off’. He continued:
Fearful that the ‘off’ may be quite serious, I urged the driver to get to the top of the hill as quickly as possible. I arrived maybe 30 seconds later and leaped out to see an inferno raging, maybe a quarter of a mile away, at the bottom of a hill.
It was obvious from the skid marks what had happened. He’d lost it somehow on the final bend after the finishing and had plummeted down one bank onto a road lower down the hill, which had caused his car to flip.
The big question was: had he managed to get out. No-one knew.
Richard Hammond was involved in a serious crash, but very fortunately suffered no serious injury. pic.twitter.com/4Oib32IJvj
— The Grand Tour (@thegrandtour) June 10, 2017
The ‘lucky sod’ – Clarkson’s words, not mine – did manage to free himself from the mangled supercar and was treated by paramedics on the scene and airlifted to hospital.
Amid the worry, a security guard radioed back to Clarkson and third musketeer, James May, who were watching from a hill to say, ‘It’s all right fellas. He winked at me.’
Clarkson has discredited reports claiming Hammond didn’t have time to get comfortable with the supercar, causing the crash, due to the TV filming crew’s tight schedule.
Clarkson told drivetribe:
Hammond had been driving the car solidly, on motorways, airfields and closed mountain roads for four days.
He’d also done several runs on the hill climb that day. He knew the car well, he knew how fast it was, and he knew how to handle it in the bends. Doubtless, you’ll be hearing all about his views on it in the next series of the Grand Tour.
I don’t know what went wrong. Hopefully, when he comes out of surgery and is feeling up to it, he will be able to tell us. What I do know is that I genuinely thought he was dead.
Hammond has since shared a video describing his injuries from hospital, and how his fractured knee is to be repaired to create a ‘Swiss Army Knee’.
The incident is horribly reminiscent of Hammond’s 2006 close-call, when he crashed at 288mph driving a rocket car for TopGear.
We wish the Hamster all the best for a full recovery.