Pilot who saved Hamster retires

The new Yorkshire Air Ambulance base at Nostell Priory. They have moved their helicopter and team from Leeds Bradford airport to the site on Doncaster Road. Unit Chief Pilot Steve Cobb checks the map. (W535R348)
The new Yorkshire Air Ambulance base at Nostell Priory. They have moved their helicopter and team from Leeds Bradford airport to the site on Doncaster Road. Unit Chief Pilot Steve Cobb checks the map. (W535R348)
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The pilot who flew BBC presenter Richard Hammond to hospital after his high-speed crash has retired after a decade with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Captain Steve Cobb has flown hundreds of missions for the charity but none as high profile as the 2006 rescue of the Top Gear host, known to millions of views as ‘The Hamster’, who was fighting for his life after sustaining serious head injuries in a 280mph jet car crash at Elvington Airfield near York.

The father-of-two made a full recovery, in large part because of the speed he was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary.

Mr Cobb, 59, said: “The Richard Hammond incident was certainly the one that generated the most interest, although it was actually one of the easiest jobs I’ve done.

“But landing on that airfield ended up being one of the biggest events for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance - leading to enough money being raised to put a deposit down for our second helicopter, G-CEMS.”

Mr Cobb, who lives in Scarborough, is now enjoying his retirement with wife Christine walking and cycling on the Yorkshire coast.