Tom Pryce Death Video – Cut in Half During F1 Race

Tom Pryce Death Video - Cut in Half During F1 Race

Since it’s a men cut in half week on Best Gore, here’s an old video to go with the unfortunate theme:

Tom Pryce (full name Thomas Maldwyn Pryce) is the only Welshman to have won a Formula One race (in 1975). On March 5, 1977 when Tom Pryce was only 27 year old, the Welshman tragically died during the South African Grand Prix after colliding with safety marshal Frederik Jansen Van Vuuren.

The tragedy happened on lap 21 after Italian driver Renzo Zorzi pulled off to the side of the main straight due to fuel metering unit problems which caused brief engine fire. Two fire marshals, whose job is to intervene in case of fire responded by running across the track to do their job. It ended up in a terrible tragedy.

25 year old panel beater named William just about made it across before fast approaching F1 car could mow him down, but 19-year old Frederik Jansen Van Vuuren, who was right behind Bill carrying a 40 lb fire extinguisher collided with the vehicle of Tom Pryce who was exiting the final corner and coming onto the main straight at high speed.

The impact tore Frederik Jansen Van Vuuren in half and sent fire extinguisher he was carrying into the cockpit of Tom Pryce, breaking his skull in half. The speed at which Tom Pryce was running at the moment of crash reached 270 km/h (170 mph).

Tom Pryce was wearing a safety helmet, but there is no helmet that could prevent injury to the head when met with this much force. The impact was so strong, after smashing Tom Pryce’s head, the fire extinguisher bounced off and flew over the adjacent grandstand, jamming shut the door of a car parked behind the rear of the stand.

Body of 19 year old Frederik Jansen Van Vuuren was so mangled up, nobody could tell which fire marshal it was. Director of the race had to summon all race marshals at the end of the race to see which one was missing to help identify the victim.

Austrian racer Niki Lauda who won the Kyalami hosted 1977 South African Grand Prix said that despite this being the greatest victory of his career, he could not enjoy it having learned of the gruesome death of Tom Pryce and the teenage race marshal.

Video of the crash is below. It contains Italian narration.

UPDATE:

Best Gore friend Paolo from Italy (username: Neter) was kind enough to provide translation of the narration in the video. Oddly enough, news report I found claimed that the crash took place on lap 21, whereas the Italian commentator in the video reports that it was on lap 23:

00:14 – “Lap 23: Renzo Zorzi’s Shadow stops because it caught fire. Two 18-year-old boys, employed by the race organizers as firemen, cross the track. One of them, Jansen Van Vuuren, gets hit, mowed down and dismembered by the Shadow of Tom Pryce. The fire extinguisher flew from the boy’s hands, hit the pilot to the face, killing him on the spot.”

00:46 – “The car in the white circle is driven by Tom Pryce. There’s a dead man at the wheel. The vehicle travels for 500 meters, slides, bumps violently against the guardrail, cuts off Lafitte’s car and disintegrates.”

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63 thoughts on “Tom Pryce Death Video – Cut in Half During F1 Race

  1. What idiots run in front of vehicles travelling at 270 km’s/h ? Actually I remember seeing this on the news that night, it was the leading story. Didn’t realise that one of the drivers was also killed.

    • Karma for what? It wasn’t his fault the guy ran out in front of him. You can’t just tap the brakes at 270km per hour. It was inevitable on the drivers’ part.

  2. Now THATS more like it.
    Brutal footage.
    Most likely caused several hundred thousand dollars worth of damage to the car (million$ these days, these cars are astronomicaly fucking costly)
    Great gor, dead bodies, and no rape.
    THIS IS BEST GORE.

  3. I’ve just had another look and it looks like the guy who wasn’t hit (William) was carrying the fire extinguisher, I think the driver was killed because his head was hit by Frederik Van Vuuren’s body! After all a man weigh’s more than 40lbs. I would say most of the blood on the dead driver Tom Pryce would be young Fred’s? Please have another look Mark.

    • I looked closely and saw what appears to be a red cylinder flying over the grandstands. Would make no sense for two fire marshalls to only have one extinguisher.

  4. I watched that video at least a half dozen times, and it’s hard to tell what killed the driver, the fire extinguisher or half of the body of the fire marshal. The video doesn’t show the impact, only the aftermath of Pryce’s dead body and his mangled racecar. It looks like his helmet was ripped of and landed by the fence. In any event, it was a big tragedy. Maybe if someone can interpret what the narrator was saying, we can get more info.

      • Every crew always has multiple extinguishers for, well, obvious reasons. People who don’t consider racing a real sport have no idea how fucking dangerous it is. It takes 100x more concentration and skill to maneuver a car around a track 200+ mph within centimeters of the guy to you, than it does to whack a ball with a stick or nine iron.

  5. That was sad. At least the fire marshal died upon impact, no question of that. Its hard to tell what killed the driver, though. What ever hit the driver it had enough force to break his helmet. That’s a lot of force.

  6. I remember the nursery school song “I want to cross the road” X3

    “Look left, look right & look left again, I want to cross the road”.

    If that guy had been to nursery school, that thing could have been not happen.

  7. I remember this. Awesome video and a sad story. I read somewhere that the force from the impact of the fire extinguisher to Pryce’s helmet was so great that the helmet strap partially decapitated him.

  8. ok found it, for some reason on Apple iPhone’s the videos can’t be seen.
    That guy was an idiot for trying to cross before the marshall’s came out with the yellow flags to slow everybody down.

  9. 1) Why werent people slowing down for fuck’s sake, 2) It was the kid’s fault. There was no rush to get across the fucking track, nobody was burning… the fucking driver was walkin around. 18 or not, what a dumbass.

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