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Schumacher was going at speed 'of a good skier'

The Local/AFP · 8 Jan 2014, 11:25

Published: 08 Jan 2014 11:25 GMT+01:00

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French prosecutors investigating Michael Schumacher's skiing accident said on Wednesday that the skiers speed was "not a particularly important factor to them".

Albertville prosecutor Patrick Quincy, told media in Albertville that Schumacher was going at an appropriate speed for a skier of his level when he fell and hit his head on a rock just a few metres off-piste.

The camera attached to Schumacher's helmet revealed that he was descending at the speed of "a very good skier on fairly hard terrain" although the fomer Formula 1 driver "did not look to reduce his speed when he went off-piste".

Schumacher was only around 8 metres off-piste between a red and blue run when he hit a rock beneath the snow causing him to fall and smash his head against another rock. His helmet was split in two by the impact.

Investigators probing the accident are seeking to determine why it happened, and whether anyone -- the resort, the ski rental shop, Schumacher himself - is at fault.

Speculation had centred around whether his skis may have been faulty but investigators also they were not the cause his life-threatening  fall and that signs marking the boundary of the piste Schumacher skied off just before the accident were in line with legal requirements.

The French investigators also said there was no evidence shown onthe video footage to suggest Schumacher had given help to a fallen skier moments before he fell himself, as had been reported.

It emerged last week that Schumacher had been wearing a camera strapped to his ski helmet when he fell,and a source close to the probe said on Tuesday that footage from the device could be intact and valuable to the inquiry.

It had been unclear until now whether the camera was working at the time ofthe accident, or whether the footage would be clear enough to use. It could be vital in helping investigators determine the speed.

"It's an important document," said the source, who wished to remainanonymous.

Prosecutors are also looking at whether the limits of the ski runs next tothe accident site were correctly marked and whether the rock in question was lying close enough to the piste to require some kind of protection or signage.

Story continues below…

They are also examining whether the safety releases on Schumacher's skisoperated properly.

A German flight steward had also told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine thathe had inadvertently filmed Schumacher at the time of the accident and that the racing champion had been going at a maximum speed of about 20 kilometres (12 miles) per hour.

He had told the magazine he would hand over the footage to French police,which he has not done so far, the source said.

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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