Britain's speed ace Donald Campbell and his wife Tonia returned to London, Nov 14, two months after his fabulous Bluebird car had crashed on the Utah Salt Flats, prematurely wrecking Mr Campbell's immediate hopes for a new land speed record.
LV. Boeing 707 arrives.
SV. Press photographers.
SV. Mr & Mrs Campbell leave plane.
SV. Cameramen (Interior).
SV. Campbell interviewed (SOF).
SCU. Ditto (SOF).
CU. Interviewer's question (SOF).
CU. Campbell answers (SOF).
CU. Interviewer listens (SOF).
CU. Campbell (SOF).
QUESTION: Well, Mr Campbell, you've come back with at least one record - you must be the first man ever to survive a motor crash at 350 miles an hour. How are you feeling now?
ANSWER: Very much better, thank you so much. Well, I was saved not only by the new type of structure in which we were seated but, in this case, the ordinary simple fighter-type of harness which holds the body so it can't be thrown through the windshield or thrown out through doors which come open or anything of that sort. It's very simple, very effective, it all falls to bits by just pressing a lever, and this I suppose is the one single factor, more than any other, responsible for saving one's life.
Q.: You've already said that the crash was not the fault of the car but your fault. What did you do wrong?
A.: I didn't do anything wrong as such but, nevertheless, when anything goes wrong with a project of this type it's my fault. In fact, we were running on a course which was too narrow. But, nevertheless, it was the width of that being used throughout the years from my father's days out on those salt flats in 1935. But, of course, what was good for 1935 is not necessarily right for 1960. We had accelerated to nearly 400 miles an hour in 1 1/2 miles and we were drifted by very light wind to one side. A second gust caught us and we leapt the rough salt on the edge of the course. This caused the car to half spin and then it took off. it was airborne for 1,000 ft, it rolled three times in the air, hit the ground, went up to 50 ft, came down again, took off again, did that three times further, and finally came down on its side, tearing off two wheels, and slithered for another 100 yards - in all it covered much more than 1/2 mile.
Campbell continued: When you start on a project you've got to succeed. This must succeed and, believe me, it can succeed. This is the most fantastic automobile that has ever been built and my confidence in it is higher than ever it was. And I am in no doubt that the machine and myself are fully capable of achieving our goal, and I hope and pray that we will achieve that goal next year.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Britain's speed ace Donald Campbell and his wife Tonia returned to London, Nov 14, two months after his fabulous Bluebird car had crashed on the Utah Salt Flats, prematurely wrecking Mr Campbell's immediate hopes for a new land speed record.
Before answering questions put to him by the Press about the crash and another record attempt, which he is planning for next September, Mr Campbell demonstrated the safety belt that saved his life. He strongly advocates its general use in everyday traffic.