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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Top Gear star 'making progress'
Richard Hammond
Richard Hammond has been moved out of intensive care
Top Gear's Richard Hammond is out of intensive care and is making "satisfactory progress", doctors say.

The 36-year-old presenter suffered a "significant brain injury" when he crashed a jet-powered car at a speed of up to 300mph during filming.

Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary, where he has been since Wednesday, said his condition was now "stable".

The accident is being investigated by the BBC, police and the Health and Safety Executive.

HAVE YOUR SAY
He's a great presenter and I wish him a full recovery
Steve Davies, Romford, UK

Event organisers insisted that proper safety precautions were taken.

A Leeds General Infirmary spokesman said: "Doctors say Richard Hammond is making satisfactory progress.

"This morning he has been moved from intensive care on to a high dependency unit.

"His condition has been downgraded from 'serious but stable' to 'stable'."

The doctors treating Mr Hammond have previously said they are "reasonably optimistic" he will make a good recovery.

Scene of Richard Hammond's crash at Elvington airfield

Mr Hammond's wife Mindy was at his bedside in the Leeds hospital and he was also visited by Top Gear co-hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May.

Mr Clarkson told the Sun newspaper that he had insulted Mr Hammond's driving skills - prompting a smile from Mr Hammond.

He also said the presenter had no visible injuries following the ordeal he had been through other than a black eye.

The presenter had been driving a jet-powered dragster similar to the Vampire - used by Colin Fallows to set the British land speed record of 300.3mph.

Obsession

Mr Hammond had to be cut free from the car after eyewitnesses at the Elvington airfield near York described how he "veered off to the right" and the car's parachutes were deployed.

Vampire
  • Estimated top speed: 370mph
  • Acceleration: 0 to 272mph in 6 seconds
  • Engine: Rolls Royce Orpheus
  • Fuel economy: 7-10 gallons per mile
  • Weight: 2,200 lbs (998kg)
  • Length: 30 feet (9.14m)

  • Primetime Land Speed Engineering, which is jointly run by Fallows, organised the event.

    A spokesman for the firm said the vehicle Mr Hammond was driving on Wednesday "had been prepared and was being operated to the highest of standards".

    The BBC said in a statement that it had started an investigation into the accident and promised full co-operation with the HSE.

    "We continue to be concerned about [Mr Hammond's] condition and we are keeping in touch with his family," the statement said.

    Top Gear has courted controversy in the past over its big-budget car stunts, and in 1999 a group of MPs criticised the series for being "obsessed with acceleration and speed".


    VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
    Scene of the crash



    SEE ALSO
    Richard Hammond: Your messages
    20 Sep 06 |  Have Your Say
    TV host seriously hurt in crash
    21 Sep 06 |  North Yorkshire
    Profile: Richard Hammond
    20 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
    Top Gear's chequered past
    21 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
    BBC backs 'provocative' Top Gear
    01 Aug 06 |  Entertainment

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