Investigators Review GoPro Footage, Determine Schumacher At Fault For Ski Fall
French investigators said that the skiing accident that left former F1 driver MICHAEL SCHUMACHER "fighting for his life occurred when he left an authorised piste, clipped a rock and fell headlong into a second rock," according to Adam Sage of the LONDON TIMES. In their first public comments on the crash, gendarmes suggested that Schumacher "could blame no one but himself for the crash." Their comments came after watching a two-minute film taken by a GoPro camera fixed to Schumacher’s helmet, which "showed the run-up to the accident and his fall." The film "laid to rest claims by Schumacher’s press officer that he had lost his balance whilst helping a child who had slipped in the snow." Gendarmes also denied that he had been skiing at an “excessive speed.” Gendarmerie Detective Squad Head Lt. Col. BENOÎT VINNEMANN said, "He was going at a normal speed for a confirmed skier on this type of terrain" (LONDON TIMES, 1/8).
'EXHAUSTIVE' INVESTIGATION: FOX SPORTS reported French authorities said the investigation is "exhaustive and 'progressing well.'" Lead investigator PATRICK QUINCY said, "We've had a number of hearings from the emergency services on the spot -- people that rented the skiis, witnesses. We also examined the film." Quincy said that "it was difficult to evaluate Schumacher's speed before he fell but it was 'not important' and that 'only at the end of the investigation' will the question of culpability be addressed." Quincy said that the standards of sign-posting on the slopes "were in accordance with regulations" (FOX SPORTS, 1/8). In London, Peter Allen reported accident defense lawyer EDOUARD BOURGIN ''was among those who had suggested that the resort had been at fault, and huge fines, compensation, and a prison sentence of up to three years could result." However, Quincy said that ''all rules'' governing signalling ''had been respected'' by those responsible for the area where Schumacher fell, "between a clearly marked red and blue run." He said that Schumacher had ''deliberately chosen'' to go into this potentially dangerous area while skiing with his 14-year-old son, MICK, and a group of friends (DAILY MAIL, 1/8).