Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Richard Hammond, a British television presenter known for presenting shows such as Top Gear and Brainiac, is in a “stable” condition in hospital following a car accident during filming for Top Gear. He was injured when the jet-powered car he was driving crashed during filming for the former. The car, similar to the “Vampire” which holds the British land speed record, overturned whilst being driven at speeds of up to 300 miles per hour at Elvington airfield near York, in what was suggested to be an attempt at bettering the previous record. It has been suggested that he succeeded in a previous attempt. Emergency services were called to the scene at 5.45pm local time (16.45 UTC).
He was airlifted to the specialist neurological unit at Leeds General Infirmary. A former firefighter who was providing fire safety at the site and witnessed the accident said that Hammond was initially unconscious but able to speak when removed from the wreckage. At the time he indicated some pain in his lower back. Numerous eyewitnesses from the Top Gear crew claimed he was ‘helped into’ an air ambulance, suggesting he was conscious at the time. The ambulance service is reported to have said that Hammond was unconscious when they arrived at the scene, but began to regain consciousness upon arrival at the hospital.
The car was “very very badly damaged and in many pieces on the runway”, according to BBC News 24, reporting comments made by his colleagues.
A web sitehas been set up for well-wishers enabling them to donate to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. This site will accept donations until January 21, 2007. As of 23.09 (UTC) 21st September 2006 (day 2) £52,239.90 had been raised, surpassing the original target of £340.00 and well past their target of £51,000 (150 flights) that was set in the past few days.