The crash which nearly killed Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond does not warrant a prosecution, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has concluded.

Hammond was seriously injured after the jet-powered dragster he was driving flipped over while travelling at 288mph on September 20th last year.

The BBC and Primetime Landspeed Engineering (PTLE), which provided the presenter's training, were guilty of several health and safety errors but the HSE has found that "none of these failings merit prosecution".

It noted that the object entering the offending tyre which caused its "catastrophic failure" created a blister in the tyre, but that this had "subsided and was not apparent immediately before the final run commenced".

Principal investigator Keith King said risk assessments by both the BBC and PTLE had been found wanting and added that these were "being pursued with the parties involved".

But he also noted that a number of safety features, taken together, had "almost certainly saved Mr Hammond's life".

"These included: the structural integrity of the Vampire, which survived the crash intact; the design of the driver restraint arrangements; the crash helmet selected and the emergency rescue services on site at the airfield," he said.

The HSE's findings have been passed on to the Joint Advisory Committee for Entertainment.

They note that, two years prior to the accident, Hammond had expressed his wish "to go really, really fast, faster than supercar fast".

22/06/2007 15:45:19