British TV presenter RICHARD HAMMOND is in a critical condition in hospital after crashing a jet car at nearly 300 miles (483 kilometres) per hour.
The 36-year-old was filming BBC car show TOP GEAR yesterday (20SEP06) afternoon when the accident happened at a former Royal Air Force airfield near York, England. He was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary by air ambulance.
The father-of-two, who presents Top Gear alongside JEREMY CLARKSON and JAMES MAY, is believed to have been trying to break the British land speed record in a dragster.
Former fireman DAVE OGDEN, who now runs company Event Fire Services, was one of the first on the scene. He says, "On the previous run, the car had just gone over 300 miles per hour but I am not sure if it had broken the record.
"They had just done one more run and were planning to finish when it veered off to the right. 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 car turned upside down and Richard's head dug into the ground, with his helmet surrounded by soil.
"We got him out and he showed us areas of pain which was a good sign he was able to talk to us. He was still breathing at that point but in distress. He was drifting in and out of consciousness a little bit."