Schumacher was metres off piste, police say
Footage from helmet shows skis touched a rock and he lost balance, prosecuters say
A general view shows the slopes ‘Chamois’ (L) and ‘Biche’ (R), and a off-piste area with rocks (C) where seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was injured in a skiing accident. Photograph: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters
French prosecutors investigating the skiing accident which left Michael Schumacher with a serious head injury have confirmed video footage taken from a camera on his helmet shows the seven-time Formula One champion was several metres off piste when he fell.
The 45-year-old was admitted to hospital on December 29th after suffering significant brain injuries in the accident at the French Alpine resort of Meribel, and has since undergone two operations to remove blood clots and reduce swelling.
It emerged soon after the accident that Schumacher’s helmet had a camera on it and had been handed over to prosecutors by the driver’s family to help with their investigation.
Although inquiries continue, prosecutors told a press conference in Albertville that the footage had shown the former F1 star was skiing off piste when he fell and hit his head.
Speaking through an interpreter, prosecutor Patrick Quincy said: “We have some analysis of the skis and the helmet. We have also examined the film which was made with the camera which was fixed to Mr Schumacher’s helmet.
“There are still a number of aspects that have to be carried out in order to be able to determine with as much precision as possible where the fall took place, the distance between the edge of the piste and the speed Mr Schumacher was going.
“Mr Schumacher was going down the piste up until an intersection between two other pistes, one red one and one blue one.
“He follows the red piste to the left side and he then finds himself off piste. He’s obviously a very good skier and is between three and six metres off piste.
“At one point his skis touch a rock, he loses balance and his head hits a rock which is eight metres alongside the piste. Mr Schumacher is on the ground, inanimate, and is nine metres from the edge of piste.
“We proceeded to examine the film that was made. That particular film is extremely legible and gives us a great deal of information, or at least confirms the information we’ve already had.
“We will take advantage of this film in order to be able to once again recreate the situation. We will then know specifically the path Mr Schumacher followed.
“This film will continue to be examined — in that way we will be able to establish with as much precision as much as possible what took place.”
Prosecutors also said their investigations suggest the piste had been clearly signposted and Schumacher was skiing beyond those markings in “virgin territory”.
Despite being conscious immediately after the accident, Schumacher was quickly airlifted to hospital where the full extent of his injuries became clear.
He remains there in an artificially induced coma with his condition described as “critical but stable”.