Michael Schumacher's helmet camera has been given to investigators following a serious skiing accident in the French Alps last week. Authorities are hoping it will answer a host of questions about the fall that ended with the former Formula One driver fighting for his life in a Grenoble, France hospital.
The investigation is necessary to determine responsibility in the accident for insurance purposes.
In response to rumors that Schumacher's family was reluctant to give the helmet-mounted camera to authorities, his manager Sabine Kehm has said:
"Michael's helmet camera was voluntarily given to the investigating authorities by the family. That this should have been done against the wishes of the family is untrue."
The camera, a GoPro model with a 170-degree wide angle lens, may or may not provide the answers investigators are looking for. When Schumacher fell, he hit his head against a rock so hard that his helmet split. Even if the camera did film Schumacher's descent down the ski slope, the images may have been damaged by the impact of the fall.
"That does not mean that Michael was traveling at high speed. He was not too fast," Kehm told reporters.
According to Edouard Bourgin, an accident claims specialist, "There could have been a catapult effect that explains the violence of the shock, even in the absence of excessive speed."
Schumacher, who is regarded by many as the most successful Formula One driver in history, was backcountry skiing with his 14 year-old son and a group of friends at the time of the fall.
Schumacher and his family typically make spending Christmas, New Year's and his birthday at their home in the Meribel ski resort an annual tradition.
Schumacher turned 45 on Friday. As he lay in a medically-induced coma surrounded by family, loyal Ferrari fans held a silent vigil outside the Grenoble hospital, carrying a banner reading "Schumi, all our thoughts for you and your family."
Image via Wikimedia Commons