Investigators examining the circumstances of Michael Schumacher’s horrific skiing accident have indicated they do not believe excessive speed was a factor in his crash, which took place on the French Alps almost two weeks ago.
Schumacher remains in a medically induced coma in a critical but stable condition in the Grenoble’s University Hospital after suffering serious head injuries when he fell over and hit his head on a rock at the Méribel ski resort.
Prosecutor Patrick Quincy (pictured above), who is leading the investigation, addressed the media for the first time in a packed press conference yesterday to reveal his team’s initial findings, which included a consolidation of eyewitness testimony and an examination of the helmet-mounted video camera Schumacher was wearing at the time of his accident.
While stating that the footage from Schumacher’s camera was”perfectly clear”, Quincy declined to speciy how fast Schumacher travelling at the time of his accident, which took place in an off piste area between two clearly marked runs.
“If necessary we will be able to say what the speed was – but speed is not a particularly important aspect for us, nor [will it be] important for decisions we will likely take at the end of the inquiry,” he told reporters.
“He reached an intersection between a red and a blue run; he followed the red piste and he went off piste.
“He is evidently a very good skier but one of his skis hit a rock that was sticking out of the piste.
“The rock that he hit was eight metres from the piste. His positioning after he fell was nine metres away from the piste.”
Stéphane Bozon, one of the co-investigators, went on to add more details about the accident.
“Looking at the evidence he was a very good skier,” Bozon said.
“He did go off piste, and when he went off piste he didn’t look at reducing his speed. We cannot really tell his speed yet. However, it is a speed of a very good skier on a fairly hard terrain and he was cornering to reduce his speed a little bit.”
Bozon also rejected speculation that Schumacher’s skis, which were rented, had played a part in the accident, amid some suggestions that one of the ski’s safety releases was faulty.
“The skis were in perfect condition. They weren’t the cause of the accident – however there is a scratch underneath the skis that proves that he did indeed hit a rock,” he added.