07/27/2012 08:47 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Let church bells fling: UK Olympics minister nearly hits woman with ringer ahead of ceremony

LONDON - It was a bit of bell ringing that became bell flinging.

British Olympics Secretary Jeremy Hunt nearly hit a bystander Friday when a bell he was shaking broke apart and went flying off its handle during a television interview.

Hunt's mishap came during artist Martin Creed's "All the Bells" event, in which bells across the country, including Big Ben, rang to welcome the games at 8:12 a.m., 12 hours before the Olympics opening ceremony begins.

Hunt's ringing may have been a bit too joyous. Television footage showed him wincing as the bell flew into a crowd of bystanders. Luckily no one appeared hit.

Later he posted a Twitter message: "Oops bell broke taking part in Martin Creed's ringing in of the Games ... no one hurt but classic (2012) moment."