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Schumacher accident 'not due to faulty skis or signage'

Neither faulty skis nor negligent signage was a factor in the accident that has left seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher in critical condition in a French hospital, prosecutors said at a press conference Wednesday.

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"There are French rules on safety, signalling, demarcation ... The checks we have made show these standards were respected," Albertville prosecutor Patrick Quincy said.

Schumacher was skiing nine metres off a groomed trail when he lost his balance and fell, hitting his head on a rock, Quincy said.

Schumacher has been fighting for his life since the December 29 accident at the Meribel resort in the French Alps while skiing with his 14-year-old son Mick and a group of friends.

Although he was wearing a helmet at the time, the German national suffered severe head trauma and was rushed to hospital in Grenoble, where he immediately underwent surgery for his injuries. He has since been kept in a medically induced coma.

Although his condition has stabilised he remains critical, doctors said Wednesday.

Investigators have been reviewing two minutes of footage from a camera mounted on the helmet Schumacher was wearing at the time, hoping it can shed light on the precise circumstances of his accident.

The Meribel ski resort initially said that Schumacher was skiing at high speeds when he fell, although this claim has been disputed, including by Schumacher’s media representative Sabine Kehm. Kehm said the former racing driver had slowed down to help a friend who had fallen when the accident occurred.

Quincy declined to comment on Schumacher's speed, though he said it was "not an important element of the investigation''.

He said experts still need to go through the footage "image by image" to determine what caused the crash.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

 

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