Former Olympic diver Jason Statham almost drowned while filming The Expendables 3 when the brakes failed in his character's car and the vehicle ran over a cliff.

The Transporter star explains his training in diving and martial arts have helped him master action-packed movie roles, but nothing could prepare him for the incident on the set of his latest film.

He tells U.S. breakfast show Today, "The good thing is I lived. It was the closest I'd ever been to drowning.

"I've done a lot of scuba diving, I've done free diving... No matter how much of that you have done, it doesn't teach you how to breathe underwater. So I came very close to drowning, it was a very harrowing experience."