Investigators have had a chance to review footage from the helmet camera that Michael Schmacher’s family handed over last week, and they say that while the former Formula One racer was indeed skiing off course – or off-piste – speed was not a significant factor in the crash.
Investigators have also ruled out problems with Schumacher’s skis, the trails, or signage as culprits in the accident.
Schumacher was skiing with his 14 year-old son and a small group of friends in the French Alps on December 29 when he lost his balance and fell, slamming his head into a rock with such force that it split the helmet he was wearing. Schumacher suffered critical brain injuries and is currently hospitalized in Grenoble, Fance. He remains in a medically-induced coma.
At one point, there was concern that the data on the GoPro helmet camera may have been compromised or even destroyed during Schmacher’s fall.
However, investigators were able to view the footage, and from the two minutes worth of images determined that Schumacher landed about 30 feet off the marked trail after his crash. Although they declined to estimate Schumacher’s exact speed, Lieutenant Colonel Benoit Vinneman insisted that “His pace was completely normal for a skilled skier.”
As reporters clamor to keep updated on Schumacher’s condition, his wife Corinna has pled for privacy and respect: “Please support our shared fight with Michael. It is important to me that you take the pressure off the doctors and the hospital so they can do their work …Please have faith in their statements and leave the hospital. Please also leave our family in peace.”
A January 3 message from the family on Schumacher’s website expressed gratitude to fans who held a silent vigil outside the hospital on his birthday:
“We are overwhelmed! The incredible sympathies shown today by the Ferrari Fans outside the hospital has utterly overwhelmed us and moved us all to tears. We are deeply grateful for it and also for all the heartwarming and heartfelt wishes for Michael to get well soon, which have reached us from all over the world.”
Schumacher’s family has relied on his manager Sabine Kehm to keep the public updated on his condition:
“The clinical state of Michael Schumacher is considered as stable and is being continually monitored by the medical treatment administered to him,” Kehm said in a statement. “However, the medical team in charge emphasise that they continue to judge his condition critical … The patient’s privacy requires that we do not give out details of his treatment and it is for this reason that we do not envisage any new press conferences, nor to send out any written press releases, in the near future.”
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