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Richard Hammond gets back behind the wheel of the rocket car that 'very nearly' killed him


Richard Hammond has got back behind the wheel of the rocket car which ‘very nearly’ killed him in 2006. 

The Grand Tour host, 52, revisited the Vampire Dragster to film a promotional video for what to expect on Drivetribe YouTube channel- owned by himself, James May and Jeremy Clarkson. 

It marked a poignant moment for Richard, who slipped into a coma, suffered serious head injuries and was in hospital for five weeks after crashing the jet powered car at 288mph. 

Brave: Richard Hammond has got back behind the wheel of the rocket car which 'very nearly' killed him after he crashed it travelling 288mph in 2006

Brave: Richard Hammond has got back behind the wheel of the rocket car which ‘very nearly’ killed him after he crashed it travelling 288mph in 2006

Scary: It marked a poignant moment for Richard, who slipped into a coma, suffered serious head injuries and was in hospital for five weeks after crashing the jet powered car

Scary: It marked a poignant moment for Richard, who slipped into a coma, suffered serious head injuries and was in hospital for five weeks after crashing the jet powered car

The video showed Hammond circling the car while news reports detailing his accident played in the background.

He said: ‘I’m doing what I promised myself I would never do, and get back into the Vampire dragster that so very, very nearly killed me. 

‘I will be doing what I swore – oh, do you know what, I’m just going to do it now.’

The Grand Tour host, 52, revisited the Vampire Dragster to film a promotional video for what to expect on Drivetribe YouTube channel- owned by himself, James May and Jeremy Clarkson

The Grand Tour host, 52, revisited the Vampire Dragster to film a promotional video for what to expect on Drivetribe YouTube channel- owned by himself, James May and Jeremy Clarkson

Walking round the yellow rocket car, he said: ‘Hello again, you look in better shape than last time I saw you, anyway’. 

Richard pulled the steering wheel and clambered in. He told the camera: ‘What’s odd is, I remember the last time I got in this thing, but I don’t remember getting out, so technically I’m still in it.’

As he sat in the car, the presenter looked shaken- no doubt having a flashback to the crash which happened during an attempt to break the British land speed record for the BBC show.

Horror crash: The video showed Hammond circling the car while news reports detailing his accident played in the background

Horror crash: The video showed Hammond circling the car while news reports detailing his accident played in the background

Richard, who suffered ‘mortally with depression’ after the accident, turned to his crew member Mike to ask him to do the challenge instead.

It then showed Mike behind the wheel with a huge jet fire coming from the back of the vehicle as he prepared to unleash the motor.   

The crash happened 15 years ago when Richard was driving the jet-powered Vampire dragster when the front-right tyre burst leading the vehicle to spin out of control during a stunt at Elvington airfield near York.

He suffered serious head injuries and he was in hospital for five weeks before returning home to his wife Mindy and their two daughters, Isabella and Willow.

Despite the horrific crash, the presenter has emerged remarkably unscathed.

Horror: Richard pulled the steering wheel and clambered in. He told the camera: 'What's odd is, I remember the last time I got in this thing, but I don't remember getting out'

Horror: Richard pulled the steering wheel and clambered in. He told the camera: ‘What’s odd is, I remember the last time I got in this thing, but I don’t remember getting out’

His left eye, however, was badly bruised, which Hammond referred to as looking like a ‘Klingon eye, all lumpy and full of fluid.’ 

The TV presenter later told how he struggled ‘mortally with depression’ and spoke regularly to a psychiatrist following the incident.

He previously recalled in an interview with The Mirror: ‘I was upside down inhaling a field. My nose and eyes were full of earth. I’d gone ploughing on my head. My very last thought was, “Oh bugger, that’s gone wrong”.

‘Well we’re checking out now. You’ve had it’. I was aware of my brain saying,”We’ll wave the flag’ – and that was the point I passed out”.

‘Doctors use a point system. Fifteen is normal, three is flatline. I was a three. I was that close to being dead.’ 

Terrifying: Richard was driving the jet-powered Vampire dragster when the front-right tyre burst leading the vehicle to spin out of control during a stunt at Elvington airfield

Terrifying: Richard was driving the jet-powered Vampire dragster when the front-right tyre burst leading the vehicle to spin out of control during a stunt at Elvington airfield

Trauma: The TV presenter later told how he struggled 'mortally with depression' and spoke regularly to a psychiatrist following the incident

Trauma: The TV presenter later told how he struggled ‘mortally with depression’ and spoke regularly to a psychiatrist following the incident

Hammond was on his final run of the day when the crash happened.

The presenter said he was in a ‘bad way’ when the air ambulance arrived. Richard recalled how the next thing he knew he was in Leeds hospital. 

At first, doctors predicted a 15-month hospital stint at a private clinic in Bristol – but he returned home after five weeks. 

Richard suffered with his mental health in the aftermath. He described how the trauma made him feel ‘panicked, desperate and mad as a bag of snakes’.  

Near miss: In 2017, Richard was airlifted to hospital after flipping a £2million electric supercar which then burst into flames as he filmed his new Amazon show The Grand Tour

Near miss: In 2017, Richard was airlifted to hospital after flipping a £2million electric supercar which then burst into flames as he filmed his new Amazon show The Grand Tour

In 2017, Richard was again airlifted to hospital after flipping a £2million electric supercar which then burst into flames as he filmed his new Amazon show The Grand Tour.

But he miraculously escaped the fireball horror with little more than a fractured knee and was ‘conscious and talking’ after freeing himself from the vehicle.

His Grand Tour colleagues May and Clarkson were ‘staggered’ he survived because there was ‘nothing left’ of the vehicle.

Grand Tour producer Amazon later released images showing the burnt-out wreckage of the car laying upside down on a hill. 

Smash: He miraculously escaped the fireball horror with little more than a fractured knee and was 'conscious and talking' after freeing himself from the vehicle

Smash: He miraculously escaped the fireball horror with little more than a fractured knee and was ‘conscious and talking’ after freeing himself from the vehicle

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