Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff’s son has said his father is “lucky to be alive” following a car crash during the filming the latest series of the BBC’s Top Gear show.
The former England cricketer received medical care at the scene before being airlifted to a hospital on Tuesday after a crash at a Surrey aerodrome.
Flintoff’s 16-year-old son, Corey, told the Daily Mail: “I’m not too sure what happened but he is lucky to be alive. It was a pretty nasty crash. It is shocking. We are all shocked but just hope he’s going to be OK.”
The Guardian understands that Flintoff remains in hospital but his injuries are not life-threatening and that the accident did not happen at high speed, with all health and safety precautions said to have been in place.
The health and safety watchdog said it was “aware and making inquiries” after the BBC reported the incident, as is standard procedure.
The HSE, which is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions, said it did not know how long inquiries would take.
Flintoff, who left cricket in 2010, returning briefly in 2014-15, and became a Top Gear host in 2019, was taking part in a shoot at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, which has featured regularly in the BBC show since 2002.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Freddie was injured in an accident at the Top Gear test track this morning, with crew medics attending the scene immediately. He has been taken to hospital for further treatment and we will confirm more details in due course.”
The show’s presenters have previously been involved in dangerous crashes while filming. Richard Hammond, who was a mainstay of the car programme in the 2000s and early 2010s, was nearly killed at Elvington airfield in York in 2006 when a dragster he was driving spun while travelling at 288mph.
Hammond was later in a coma and suffered brain damage. However, he returned to screens and is now part of The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime with his one-time Top Gear colleagues Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
Flintoff himself has been involved in a high-speed accident since he began as one of Top Gear’s co-presenters. In 2019, he lost control of a motorised trike, the Time Bandit, when racing at 124mph against co-hosts Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races but on this occasion I went a few lengths too far! It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV.”
The 2005 Ashes winner has presented documentaries, including Freddie Flintoff’s Field of Dreams for BBC One, in which he returned to his home town of Preston to try to understand why cricket did not appear to be capturing the imagination of state-school pupils from the Lancashire town.