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Richard Hammond reveals demand to BBC producer that led to terrible guilt after near-death horror crash

Richard Hammond reveals demand to BBC producer that led to terrible guilt after near-death horror crash

The former Top Gear host has revealed more on his horror dragster crash

Richard Hammond has revealed what he said to Top Gear's producer prior to his horror dragster crash.

Today, he is one of the most well-known TV presenters in the country, best known for his time on Top Gear and The Grand Tour, but a terrifying crash in 2006 almost took his life.

Hammond has recently spoken about his coma dream following the crash:

While filming for the BBC show 18 years ago, the Brit took on the challenge of manning a dragster - the quickest accelerating racing car in the world boasting top speeds of up to 338 mph.

However, on his final run, disaster struck, as one of the tires blew while the presenter hit 320 mph, forcing the dragster off the runway and into the grass, flipping in mid-air.

Admitting that he wasn't afraid when the vehicle veered off course, he later stated: “It wasn’t frightening. I wasn’t wildly unhappy. I was very calm.”

Luckily escaping with no physical injuries, the 54-year-old went into a coma for two weeks, also suffering from depression and memory loss in the long-term following the accident.

Speaking on former Made in Chelsea star Spencer Matthews' podcast Big Fish, he explained that two years later, he still didn't completely feel normal.

But he received advice from former Grand Prix doctor Sid Watkins, who told him to take his time as it might take longer than the two years that doctors had advised for him to make a recovery.

He revealed that he 'burst into tears with relief', as he still didn't 'feel right'.

Hammond has been married to wife Mindy for 22 years.
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Disney

He also delved into the emotional repercussions he had to deal with, and the prospect of coping with 'survival guilt'.

Hammond revealed: “I had terrible survivor’s guilt, not because other people had died around me and I’d survived, which is the sort of commonly held view of it. I felt guilt because ‘Have I done this?’"

The Grand Tour presenter said it was him who came up with the idea of the dragster, having 'ran' into Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman's office at the time.

“I don’t know why the idea came to me — I just ran in and said ‘Wilman, Wilman, I want to go real f***ing fast, really fast — like, proper fast’.

“That’s where the idea came from. Next thing you know I got a phone call from him saying ‘Right, Rich, we’ve sorted this jet-powered dragster for you to have a go’," he explained.

He did acknowledge the fact that the tyre delaminating and bursting wasn't completely in his control, but he was at the wheel.

The TV presenter in hospital following his second serious accident.
The Grand Tour

Explaining his two daughters are 'everything' to him, Hammond wondered if he risked them not having a father with his actions.

“So I had terrible guilt until they could look at what telemetry there was on the machine and they could assure me, ‘No, Richie, your reactions were good, you did everything, there was nothing you could do beyond that point. The tyre had gone, it was an accident’.

“So that assuaged the guilt.”

However, the crash also made him realise that he didn't fear death.

“We all know fight or flight, the sort of in-built human responses," he began.

“There is a third one according to someone I’ve chatted to, which is, sort of, freeze.

“It’s the point at which you realise there’s nothing you can do."

Describing how the dragster veered off and he had no control over the vehicle after unsuccessfully attempting to deploy the parachute, he claimed he felt 'calm' and 'an acceptance' that he would die, as the car had no roof.

Despite not remembering it, Hammond was apparently standing after the crash, unaware of any pain.

Hammond is best known for being part of this legendary TV trio alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

But it was the brain trauma that caused the problems: "The deceleration from 290 to zero very quickly, upside down, caused the brain to slosh forward. So it was a frontal lobe bleed.”

He was put in an induced coma to deal with the internal swelling.

Hammond was involved in a second dangerous accident while filming The Grand Tour in 2017, crashing a Rimac Concept One car off a hill in Switzerland, rolling several times.

This time, he suffered a shattered knee and nothing more, as he was back at the wheel just two months after the crash.

Featured Image Credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage/The Grand Tour/Amazon Prime

Topics: Richard Hammond, Top Gear, Celebrity, Health, Mental Health