Host of The Grand Tour Richard Hammond was in joking mood on Sunday, kidding: “I’m not dead,” just one day after he survived a horrific car crash. This comes as no surprise to us, because after all, it’d take a lot more than a fiery crash in an electric supercar to kill a man who has previously survived a 463 kph jet-powered dragster crash.
Hammond, who was in Switzerland filming Amazon’s The Grand Tour was flown to hospital in St. Gallen after the Rimac Concept One electric supercar he was driving crashed down a hillside and then burst into flames. Jeremy Clarkson, who was present at the scene, said that it was the “biggest crash I’ve ever seen and the most frightening.”
Speaking from his hospital bed Sunday, Hammond confirmed he would require knee surgery in a video broadcast by Drive Tribe. “I would like to thank all of the medical professionals who got me by air ambulance from the crash to the hospital and who have dealt with me ever since,” he said.
Hammond also used the opportunity to apologise to his wife Mindy, and two daughters, Issy and Willow – which is something he’s unfortunately had to do on more than one occasion before.
Hammond’s crash occured whilst he was taking part in a Hill Climb event in Croatia on Saturday. Following the crash, The Grand Tour released a statement relating to the incident.
“Richard was conscious and talking, and climbed out of the car himself before the vehicle burst into flames,” it said. “He was flown by air ambulance to hospital in St. Gallen to be checked over revealing a fracture to his knee. Nobody else was in the car or involved in the accident, and we’d like to thank the paramedics on site for their swift response. The cause of the crash is unknown and is being investigated.”
Hammond is no stranger to high speed accidents
Just 11 years ago, Richard Hammond was severely injured when he crashed a jet-powered dragster he was piloting, called Vampire. The Vampire once held the British land speed record at 483.3kph (483mph) and was powered by a single Bristol-Siddeley Orpheus after-burning turbojet engine, producing 10,000hp. Some say the accident occurred during an attempt by Richard to break the British land speed record, but a report following accident found that Top Gear producer Andy Wilman vetoed the idea, due to the risk involved.
The accident happened whilst Richard was completing a 7th and final run to collect extra footage for the segment, when his front-right tyre disintegrated, and according to witness and paramedic Dave Ogden, “one of the parachutes had deployed but it went on to the grass and spun over and over before coming to a rest about 100 yards from us.”
The emergency crew quickly arrived at the car, finding it inverted and partially embedded in the grass. During the roll, Richard’s helmet had embedded itself into the ground, flipping the visor up and forcing soil into his mouth and damaging his left eye. Rescuers felt a pulse and heard the unconscious Richard breathing before the car was turned upright. Richard was cut free with hydraulic shears, and placed on a backboard. He was then transported by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to the neurological unit of the Leeds General Infirmary.
Richard Hammond said the accident changed him and is now filed away “under the major events of my life, along with passing 40, getting married, having my daughters.”