Michael Schumacher was not skiing at high speed when he fell and suffered a serious head injury in the French Alps on Sunday, the German newspaper Bild has claimed.
The newspaper made the claim as part of detailed reconstruction of the accident including a video it says shows the course taken by Schumacher in the run up to his fall.
Schumacher, who spent his 45th birthday in a medically induced coma in hospital in Grenoble on Friday, was injured while skiing with his family off-piste in the resort town of Meribel in the French Alps after he fell and hit his head on a rock.
However, the exact circumstances surrounding the accident have so far remained unclear.
Schumacher ‘not skiing fast’
Bild says Schumacher’s fall took place sometime between 10:50 and 11:00 local time as he was skiing with friends and his teenage son.
Seeing that the daughter of one his friends was in difficulty, Schumacher went to help her, leaving the piste and skiing 20 metres into deep snow.
It was then that the Ferrari driver hit one of the several exposed rocks in the area, losing control of his trajectory. At the same time, one of the safety releases on Schumacher’s rented skis - now in the possession of investigators - failed to open, Bild claims.
Propelled into the air, Schumacher fell with the right side of his head landing on another rock. Despite wearing a helmet, which shattered on impact, Schumacher was badly hurt and was bleeding profusely from his head.
Help arrived four minutes after the accident, says Bild, with Schumacher still conscious but his words and actions becoming increasingly incoherent. He was unable to respond properly to questions and the movement of his limbs was erratic.
Upon his arrival at hospital in Grenoble, Schumacher had fallen into a coma and underwent immediate surgery.
French prosecutors have opened an investigation in an effort to clarify the cause of the accident and are likely to explore the possibility that the German was skiing at a high speed when he fell, as was claimed by the Meribel ski resort.
However, this has been denied by Schumacher’s media representative Sabine Kehm, who said the former racing driver “was not going quickly, because it seems he helped a friend who had fallen down".
Fans honour injured Schumacher on 45th birthday
According to the latest information released by the hospital on Wednesday, the seven-time Formula One world Champion is now in a "stable" but still critical condition.
On Friday, scores of fans gathered outside the hospital where Schumacher is being treated to hold a vigil in honour of his 45th birthday.
Supporters of the Scuderia Ferrari Club wore their team's red colours and carried a banner reading "Schumi, All our thoughts for you and your family".
In a statement posted on Schumacher's website, the former F1 star’s family thanked fans for their support.
“We all know he is a fighter and will not give up,'' they said.
Bild reconstruction of Schumacher accident
Date created : 2014-01-03