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Go Pro camera on Schumacher’s helmet shows the accident “in perfect clarity” – Police
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Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Jan 2014   |  11:22 am GMT  |  51 comments

The police in France investigating the ski accident of Michael Schumacher have given a press conference today with their initial findings and it appears that the Go Pro camera mounted on his helmet was not only rolling when he crashed, but it shows “in perfect clarity” what happened.

It has allowed the police to see in detail what happened, to confirm the witness statements and then using the video they have been able to carry out a reconstruction of the accident. The findings from the video and the reconstruction will be presented at a public inquest at which responsibility for the accident will be established.

It appears that Schumacher was descending the slopes and came to the intersection of a red and blue run. He took the red, then diverted into an off piste area between the two runs. Eight metres from the edge of the piste his ski hit a rock and he was propelled forwards. He hit his head on the rock and landed a further metre from the piste edge.

At this stage, that is all the police were willing to say. They did not say how fast he was travelling.

They did note that the Schumacher family had requested that police spell out the basic facts as established so far, because they are bothered by the erroneous stories and rumours which have been circulating since the December 29 incident. They have also asked the media to leave the hospital.

The police noted the reports of the German bystander who claimed to have inadvertently filmed the accident in the background of a smartphone video of his girlfriend -as reported in Der Spiegel in Germany – but said that the video had not been handed over to them and the officer said he personally doubted its existence.

The officer noted that they are very familiar with this kind of investigation as they carry out around 50 similar investigations every season.

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51 Comments
  1. Rodrrico says:

    If the police are familiar with this sort of incident, shouldn’t something be done to help reduce the chances of this happening in future. For example, they should put up sheet fencing like we see in the winter Olympics as a safety idea.

    1. Sebee says:

      Fancing can be very dangerous and cause death as well. There is no clear full proof solution when you’re dealing with elements at high altitude. Entire trees can get covered by snow, not just fences and trail marker flags.

    2. Sebee says:

      FYI:
      Look up Nick Zoricic to learn about the the safety of fencing at an Olympic safety level course.

      1. Futdok says:

        Well said Sebee

    3. Mark V says:

      It is simply impossible to entirely eliminate the chance of skiing over a rock that is lurking just beneath the surface. These are mountains after all, they are made of rocks so skiing over one happens all the time, which is why edge and base repair kits are part of most skiers’ equipment. This is especially true at this early stage of the season which usually means low snow cover, doubly complicated by the fact most of the Alps has gotten very little snow this season. Above the treeline, wind can often blow the snow around that then exposes rocks that had been covered the day before.

      I wasn’t there but my guess is it was simply bad luck Michael snagged his ski on a rock (probably unseen by him) and worse luck it was bad enough to cause him to fall and then hit his head on another rock.

    4. J.Danek says:

      Rodrico, skiing is an inherently risky sport. Hundreds of thousands of skiers descend those slopes and only 50 times per year does someone get hurt badly enough in France to require an investigation to determine liability? I’d say they’re doing a good job of mitigate what risk they can…

    5. FastGuy says:

      Figures…the first comment is from some safety “expert” who thinks everything can and should be made safer. Danger is always a second away, my friend. Always will be.

  2. goferet says:

    Darn, always the thorough and attention to detail Schumi for it turns out, not only was he wearing a helmet but the camera too was turned on >>> beautiful.

    Thankfully, our Schumi isn’t too cool for helmets and now that the jig-zaw puzzle is complete, looking forward to the police conclusions for some closure.

    Now considering how careful Schumi is, and how seriously he takes his safety, I would very much doubt that he would be found at fault and so the police better start looking for scapegoats because somebody, somewhere needs to be answerable.

    P.s.

    Get well soon Schumi.

    1. Jonathan says:

      Really?!

      How many lessons can there be to learn if the Police do 50 such investigations every year?

      There is a very clear point here. Schumacher was off piste – and would have known it. If you really want to make each on piste run have safety barriers you will either kill the sport or find skiers forcing a way through the fencing and make it even more dangerous.

      Just who do you think should be held accountable? It was Schumacher who put his skis on – or should his wife be blamed for not forcing him to stay at home?

      Many people are thrill seekers and enjoy dangerous situations. Whatever we say will not stop this – they will simply have to find other ways to put themselves in danger.

      1. J.Danek says:

        Jonathan, I think goferet’s post has some pretty strong but dry humor in it, which i for one appreciated. And while I don’t think he’s making light of Schumacher or mocking him or anyone else, some humor/levity during all of this is a welcome respite. I too hope that Schumi is still so machine-like that he can come back from this and recover fully.

        I wonder how Hamster Hammond’s TBI compares to what Schumacher suffered? Richard recovered fully so hopefully Michael does too.

        Peace out!

      2. Stan says:

        The hamster didn’t really recover fully, he said so himself. There’s also a really funny interview with him, the first one after the accident i think, which he later said he doesn’t even remember, because his memory wasn’t fully recovered even after 8 months.

        But i’m guessing Mike will get much better care from the best doctors on the planet with the best tech at their disposal.

        I bet we won’t see him in public for at least a year after this.

    2. unF1nnished business says:

      The next time he goes skiing…stay on piste!

      1. Sebee says:

        It was an accident!

        There are many possibilities.

        I say this with no knowledge of the slopes, with only knowledge that Schumi knew them rather well, and at 9 meters off piste – what are we talking about here? Blink of an eye?

        Since Random loves Maths with Sebee, we have an opportunity here for Episode 5 of Maths with Sebee.

        Assuming 30km/hr speed, does anyone here care to tell me how long it takes to travel 9 meters? Anyone?

        Yeah…don’t bother checking your calculator twice, it takes 1 SECOND to travle 8.3 meters.

        So all this off-piste crap means nothing to me really.

      2. Mark V says:

        Off piste in Europe often merely means ungroomed by a snow cat, or un-patrolled. In a vast snow field above the treeline, there may be a ribbon of groomed snow that allows beginner skiers an easy way down without having to deal with snow that is in varying states between fresh powder and being tracked out by other skiers. If a skier steps off this marked groomed ribbon, they are considered “off piste”. It doesn’t mean they are automatically in a danger zone.

      3. Spacejunk says:

        Your third sentence says it best: ‘with no knowledge of the slopes’….

        It doesn’t matter if you are 1 metre, 9 metres or 100 metres off piste, you are still off piste. And there is a reason why that specific area is called off piste.

        Yes, it was an accident, 1 of about 50 that happen each year. But how many of those would happen if the skier stayed on piste?

        But Schumacher has contributed greatly to his accident.

        The guy might be one of the best ever to have driven a F1 car, but that doesn’t mean he is perfect. He is just as prone to make bad calls of judgment, to make mistakes as anyone else.

      4. Sebee says:

        Oh and this…

        “next time he goes skiing”

        Somewhat tasteless at this time. Have to call it like I see it.

      5. unF1nnished business says:

        I don’t car how you call it…I’m just being optimistic.

    3. Voodoopunk says:

      “I would very much doubt that he would be found at fault and so the police better start looking for scapegoats because somebody, somewhere needs to be answerable.”

      You’re kidding?

      1. J.Danek says:

        Yes he’s using gallows-like humor. Which I appreciated.

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        …and how do you know that?

    4. F. Klammer says:

      goferet wrote : “somebody, somewhere needs to be answerable.”

      Schumacher was skiing OFF piste. The ski resort doesn’t maintain the areas which are OFF piste and anyone with knowledge of skiing knows this is the case.

      I think it is sensible to avoid jumping to conclusions and also avoid the expectation that “somebody, somewhere needs to be answerable” and instead sit back and relax and consider the very real possibility that it was just an accident, and that Schumacher hit a rock which may not have been easy to see with snow covering that rock.

      “Off piste” involves risks, and all seasoned skiers know this.
      When you ski off piste the expectations regarding hazards must be adjusted accordingly.

      1. Sebee says:

        Indeed. I think the sticking point is, as I noted above that this 9m off piste is really nothing. 1 second time at 30km/hr.

        And so this is perhaps the sticking point, that the piste offers no margin for error or sufficient notice in it’s marking system. Schumi doesn’t need compensation as he has resources, but if anything can be learned or improved from this unfortunate accident, it should be.

        I’m not a skier, but it seems to me that if the margin between life and death is that fine on this trail, and the only reason Schumi is with us still is because he had the frame of mind to wear the helmet, perhaps the margin for error is too fine for public to have access to this trail at all?

      2. Tim says:

        I have copied and pasted part of the statement from a member of the investigating team below (the full article is on the BBC):
        ‘Schumacher had deliberately chosen to go off piste, an area between a red and blue piste that was clearly signposted, the investigators said.
        He hit a rock that was 8m (26ft) from the piste, and landed 9m (30ft) away from the piste, they outlined.
        “[Mr Schumacher] is evidently an extremely good skier, but one of his skis hit a rock that was sticking out… it caused him to fall and he hit his head on the rock,” Mr Quincy said.’

        Skiing either on piste or off involves an inherent risk of injury – but it’s fun. That’s why I choose to accept the risks and why,I assume, MSC chose too and also why the millions of others that participate in winter sports do so as well.
        The mountains aren’t a man made theme park Sebee, they are part of the natural world. There will be rocks and trees all around, there are often steep drops just roped off from the piste – as one of the other posters mentioned, there must have been millions of skiers who have used this path and MSC was just unlucky. It appears it was a tragic accident, that’s all.
        I am not religious so I won’t say I am praying for his recovery, but I do sincerely hope he gets better.

      3. Sebee says:

        Thanks for that Tim. I’m not a skier. Absolutely loved watching the WM movies, never had the urge to put on skis.

        9m off-piste seems like thin margin of error to me still – 1s @ 30Km/h. But if as you say that’s the understood rule – that there is no margin of error on the trails, then there isn’t much to say. He went off, paying a steep price for that indiscretion. Seems like there is no margin of error up there. Perhaps Schumi wasn’t looking for a cheap thrill, but something that required precision of execution. He just didn’t expect this to be the price for poor execution. Or as I said above, maybe even he strapped on that GoPro and became a guy who was just a slave to trying to get a good video clip.

      4. halifaxf1fan says:

        Schumacher would have known that he was off pste but he should’t have ventured into such an area wearing a helmet that was unsuited for the dangers in such areas ie rocks. Ski helmets are not designed to protect adequately for impacts with solid objects, only designed for snow impacts. He probably didn’t realize how little protection his helmet offered.

      5. J.Danek says:

        geeze, he’s trying to be funny and lighten the mood a bit. Don’t you remember Schumacher’s notorious refusal to ever accept blame for anything, explained in great detail by DC in the aftermath of Michael’s crash in Spain when he ran up the backside of Bruno Senna and was pretty adamant (at least at first, on the radio) that it was Bruno’s fault (“iiiiiiidiot!!!!”)?!

    5. Phil R says:

      It’s called an accident…they happen in life from time to time, and nothing and no one can prevent them.

      1. Spacejunk says:

        They can be prevented Phil. But not skiing off piste.

        Your reasoning would suggest if I walked around with a loaded gun in my hand and I accidentally pulled the trigger and shot someone then it’s just an accident. No one could prevent it from happening.

        How about not walking around with a loaded gun [skiing off piste] in the first place.

      2. Phil R says:

        Skiing or boarding off piste is not walking around with a loaded gun…

        Maybe we should all walk round with slip on or velcro shoes? Laces will always untie eventually, and given enough times someone will trip up and injure themselves.

        I’m not saying we should walk around with loaded guns, far from it. People have different risk levels. Anyone who is confident on snow has the right to go off piste, and they take that risk at their own discretion that an accident may happen.

    6. Sebee says:

      I have to tell you, on a personal note, these cameras do nothing but cause “bad luck”.

      Let me explain.

      I have at least few good examples while we were riding mountain bikes and motorbikes and used to shoot videos at the time with a Samsung detachable lens cams. Every time that camera came out you’d try to top yourself and do something worthy of filming. Of course, in many cases these videos don’t end well, and basically YouTube is worth however many billions of dollars today showing those videos to us.

      I’m not saying Schumi was doing this – to be clear. He’s too wise and used to being on camera all the time. What I am saying is, be careful out there boys and girls. When these cameras come out, it tends to do bad things to us normal folks generally. You are not a pro, so don’t try to go like a pro if you know what I mean. More often then not the filming takes your focus off the task, and you end up being one of those tank top/flip flop wearking dinks on a motorbike filming how they get rocks and gravel out of your skin with a metal brush in the hospital emergency room.

  3. MISTER says:

    From the beginning of this horrible accident, I just could not believe it. Could not believe he could be so badly hurt. Still hoping every day we get to see an article saying he’s out of danger and will be fully recovering.

    It’s a ski accident and these happen, nothing you can do about. It’s part of the sport.

    This thing I am furious about, is the fact there are rocks in close proximity of a ski piste. That is outrageous. Like someone else suggested, install those fences to stop people reaching that area with rocks in case of a tumble.

    Wish Michael a full and speedy recovery.

    1. Superman says:

      I have grave concerns about this tragic accident as I have more of an understanding than I would like! People need to remember this was an accident and they can happen at anytime. It appears to be a normal thing that skiers do – I’ve done a similar thing myself, with no thought of the concequencies, and got away with it.

      As far as I am concerned, as much as I hope I am wrong, he will not make a “full” recovery. I would guess he is passing the life and death stage but that may be of little concequence to man as great as him. I speak with first hand experiance on the receiving end.

      I suffered a head injury, after an accident of no fault of my own, nearly two years ago. 12 days in a coma on life support, two months in hospital, then trying to come to terms with what I now am. Through the brain injury I now have vision issues, one eye will not move properly so double vision, deaf in one ear, memory issues, slower at leaning, muddled words sometimes, mood swings and more.

      The fight for Schumi is only just beginning. I wish him all the best but worry about what it will do for this great man. Look up the boxer Michael Watson, his was nowhere near as bad as Schumi. And I was not a fan in the Ferrari years of dominance but you have to admire him and his generosity.

      Good Luck Schumi. Spare a thought for Corinna and the family, they are the ones suffering at the moment, he will know nothing of it. Be strong.

      All the best!

    2. Mike84 says:

      What ski slope does not have trees and rocks within 25′ of the conditioned area? Most have many hazards if you go even half that far off. Also many ordinary roads have trees close by the road and no fence to prevent hitting them. Hiking trails go through woods without fences, if you go 25′ off the trail you could trip on a rock.

      There’s nothing outrageous about any of that, any more than it’s reality because (1) people like close scenery, and (2) even governments can’t afford providing 50′ of cleared & graded runoff on both sides of every road.

  4. Sebee says:

    I’ve seen some media shots of Mrs. Schumacher, and it’s clear by her eyes and this is taking a huge toll on her and the family.

    I think the reality of some of the likely possibilities is wighting heavy, as it would on anyone. My gut feeling is that Schumi will not be the same after this accident.

    I think the media does need to back off. Schumachers have the resources to move Schumi and hide from the media world and get their privacy. But is that really what the media wishes to force on the situation? We all know what’s going to happen now. Schumi will have a long and likely slow recovery. He and his family need the space and privacy to do this in dignity and without spotlights.

    She’s right, media need to back off now.

    1. J.Danek says:

      “I think the media does need to back off. Schumachers have the resources to move Schumi and hide from the media world and get their privacy. But is that really what the media wishes to force on the situation? We all know what’s going to happen now.”

      I for one appreciate the professional media’s coverage and don’t want them to stop reporting on the story. Not camping outside the hospital sounds like a reasonable request if MS’s management can coordinate w/ hospital PR staff to schedule and conduct regular press conferences to update us on Schumacher’s progress. Though I do agree that there is no excuse for madness like the reporter disguising himself as a priest and trying to sneak in.

      Face it, Michael Schumacher is a global giant and people want to know what’s going on with him. I think reasonable people can respect the family’s request for privacy but in exchange they’re going to have to interact w/ the press even if via intermediaries like hospital staff – or else the media IS going to pursue the story via other means.

      1. Sebee says:

        OK.

        What can possibly happen now that can’t be communicated via release than can keep us informed 30 minutes after it happens?

        Global or not, and I agree that I would like to know how he is doing, but not at the cost of those closest to him having to deal with this circus at this difficult time. What is Ms. Kheim for anyway? Media should back off, save the money they are wasting and wait for emails.

  5. Ivan says:

    Police conclusions are important, no doubt. But our eyes are all on Schumi until he gets out of this hospital with prospects of a full recovery.
    Fingers crossed..

  6. Colin Coote says:

    Im a huge schumi fan and have followed his career from his benetton days ,and I hope he makes a full recovery. But is it not the case that his accident was exactly that, an accident ? I’ve never been skiing so i’m not clued up on what is required of ski resorts from a safety point, but surely if Michael was off piste and hit a snow covered rock then the accident was unavoidable. Please correct me if im wrong as never been skiing. Just hope schumi makes a full recovery.

    1. unF1nnished business says:

      Off piste means you are in unmarked territory/ungroomed and you run the risk of an accident…So yes it was avoidable.

    2. Phil R says:

      100% correct. It’s like walking in a forrest and you twist a knee or something, there is nothing you can do.

  7. Jose Sanchez says:

    Once when schumi das askedd by a journalist if he considered. himself a myth. He answered that he just considered himself a lucky guy. Since he cameback into racing at mercedes, all that Luck seemed to be gone. Would the answer be diferent if the questión was asked then? Now e looks to me more myth than lucky.

  8. SuperSeven says:

    James – I read with sadness the news that Brian Hart passed away. Any chance that you can do a tribute to him on this site?

  9. Rich C says:

    I bet if it had been you or me that fell over and hit our head this would not still be in the news.
    Nor would there be this mysterious talk about “someone being answerable.”

    1. Allan says:

      That “mysterious talk” is just some other poster’s comment…

    2. Colin Coote says:

      Thats because you’re not a 7 times world champion and global icon numnuts !!

  10. Rick says:

    “responsibility for the accident will be established” is an oxymoron.
    Sadly, fate happens. I hope Michael recovers.

  11. Mike84 says:

    Thank you for giving us an objective article rather than twisting it to create a headline.

  12. seifenkistler says:

    There is still a lot of unknowns, even with the camera. The camera doesn’t show what happened in his back.
    Was he trying to drive off piste, or was he helping someone, stopped and had to watch back for others when trying to speed up again, lot of questions without a real answer ever i think.

    Best is to use Michaels own words said in an interview with Kai Ebel just before he left for skiing:
    ‘Ich verfahre nach dem Schicksalsprinzip. Ich kann nicht Dinge nicht tun, weil etwas dabei passieren kann. Wenn etwas passiert, dann ist es vielleicht Schicksal.’

    Perhaps someone has a better translation:

    ‘I live beliving in fate. I can not not do things because something might happen. If something happens , it might be fate.’

  13. Allan says:

    Off topic, but all the media reports relating to Schumi’s skiing accident shows a photo of him wearing the red Ferrari jacket. Was that was he was actually wearing prior to the accident, or is that photo a file pic taken way back during his Ferrari days?

  14. KARTRACE says:

    Inquest ? Inquest is a judiciary inquiry into an accident with the mortal outcome. As far as I understand Michael is still alive, or isn’t he ?

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