Investigators rule out excessive speed in Schumacher accident

Photo: Investigators rule out excessive speed in Schumacher accident / Other News

Michael Schumacher was not skiing at excessive speed at the time of his accident in the French Alps resort of Meribel on December 29, investigators told a press conference Wednesday.

Footage from a helmet camera Schumacher was wearing at the time of his fall showed he was travelling at a "normal speed for a skier of that level on such a terrain," the gendarme leading the probe, Stephane Bozon, told reporters in the town of Albertville.

Bozon said the German Formula One racing legend was a "very good skier" who seemed to know what he was doing as he made his way down an off-piste slope, performing small turns to control his speed, dpa reported.

Albertville public prosecutor Patrick Quincy said the 45-year-old retired racer, who knew the resort well, appeared to have "deliberately chosen" to leave a red slope to take the ungroomed off-piste slope.

Schumacher was skiing with his 14-year-old son Mick when the accident occurred.

He was eight metres from the red slope when he stumbled and hit his head on a rock, cracking his helmet and suffering severe head injuries.

The 45-year-old seven-time F1 world champion has been in a medically induced coma in a Grenoble hospital since the accident. His condition after two operations is described by doctors as critical but stable.

The investigation is to determine whether he, the ski resort or the manufacturers of his equipment bear any responsibility for the accident.

Quincy said the police had yet however to examine the footage from the helmet camera "image by image."

But the probe had already been revealed that Meribel was in compliance with safety standards on piste markings, Quincy said.

"Our observations are that the standards were respected," he said.

Neither were his skis at fault.

"The skis were not the cause of the accident," Bozon said, describing them as being in "perfect condition."

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