Paris police accused of covering up ‘errors’ in officer’s death

A French police union has accused Paris police authorities of "a series of errors" which allegedly "led to the death" of a police diver who drowned in the River Seine in the French capital during a training exercise.

Paris police accused of covering up 'errors' in officer's death
Illustration photo of police on the River Seine in Paris. Photo: AFP

The police diver, Amandine, was 27 when she died during a training exercise in the river near Notre Dame Cathedral on January 5th.

According to French newspaper Le Canard enchaîné which had access to the police enquiry into manslaughter, the instructor leading the exercise had ordered Amandine’s safety line to be let go of in order to recover the diver sent to rescue her.

And French police union Unsa, who also saw documents from the enquiry, says that this was not the right decision.

“The lifeline of the diver was dropped in defiance of the protocol,” Unsa representative Nicolas Pucheu told Le Parisien

The diver who was sent down to help her had no air cylinder. She got into difficulty in the rough current and unbearable conditions, and had to come back up to the boat.”

“Amandine was sent into the Seine with about 40kg of equipment and did not manage to inflate her life jacket,” he added

Nicolas Pucheu also told France Bleu on Wednesday that her life jacket was faulty. Paris authorities had issued a warning asking people to stay away from the Seine on the day Amandine died, as the river had burst its banks.

The police union has also criticised the Paris prefecture for allegedly refusing help from an elite squad to find Amandine’s body, which has not yet been found. Amandine’s family have accused the police of a cover-up and have begun legal proceedings.

“They hid the truth from us,” her mother told Le Canard enchaîné. “At no time did the police tell us that a mistake had been made, that the instructor had given orders to let go of the safety line”. 

Amandine had been qualified to dive for three weeks, Le Parisien reported. 

In February, the Paris Public Prosecutor opened an enquiry into manslaughter. 

The Local contacted the Paris prefecture for comment on Wednesday but has not yet received a response.  

By Charlotte Mason


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Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”