GENEVA >> Richard Hammond, a presenter of Amazon’s car-themed TV show “The Grand Tour,” escaped serious injury today in a fiery crash while filming in Switzerland.
Program-makers said Hammond was airlifted to hospital with a fractured knee. The Rimac Concept One electric supercar was reduced to a twisted, blackened mess after it crashed and caught fire.
The program said in a statement that Hammond crashed after completing a climb during a demonstration run at the Hemberg hill race in the east of the alpine country.
“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.”
The show said no one else was involved, and the cause of the crash was under investigation.
Hammond, 47, hosts the adrenaline-fueled automotive show with Jeremy Clarkson and James May. The trio are the former hosts of the BBC program “Top Gear.”
Clarkson tweeted that “it was the biggest crash I’ve ever seen and the most frightening but incredibly, and thankfully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.”
Gian Andrea Rezzoli, a spokesman for St. Gallen cantonal (state) police, confirmed that a person had been injured and taken to a hospital, but referred further questions to the race organizers as the crash happened on a cordoned-off racetrack.
A spokesman for the Hemberg race organizers, Marco Moser, said the demonstration runs are intended to showcase unusual vehicles and offer spectators “something special.”
“No accident is nice for us,” Moser said. “But accidents do happen in high-risk sports. Of course when a car goes up in flames, then there’s quite a bit more adrenaline.”
“We’re happy that Richard Hammond is doing well, under the circumstances,” he added.
In 2006, Hammond suffered a brain injury when he crashed in a rocket-powered dragster while filming “Top Gear.” He had been attempting to break the British land speed record at an airfield when the vehicle veered of the track, tumbled over and plowed into the grass.
He recovered and returned to the show a few months later.
Hammond and May left “Top Gear” after Clarkson was fired for punching a producer in a dustup during filming. The trio signed with Amazon for “The Grand Tour,” which is filming its second season.