Grenoble - Michael Schumacher remains in a "critical but stable"
condition, his spokesperson said on Saturday, as French investigators
hoped a helmet-mounted camera he was wearing at the moment of his ski
accident could answer a raft of questions.
A spokesperson for
the retired Formula One champion denied some reports that his family had
been reluctant to hand over the camera - taken by authorities on Friday
- because of privacy reasons.
"Michael's helmet camera was
voluntarily given to the investigating authorities by the family," said
spokewoman Sabine Kehm in a statement. "That this should have been done
against the wishes of the family is untrue."
The existence of the
GoPro camera was publicly revealed late Friday, five days after the
December 29 accident in the French Alps near the Meribel ski resort.
was not known whether the camera filmed Schumacher's descent down the
slope or whether the images have been damaged by the impact on the rock,
which was so hard it split the helmet he was wearing.
Friday got eyewitness testimony from Schumacher's 14-year-old son Mick,
who was skiing with his father at the time, as well as a friend, at the
Kehm said Schumacher remains in a "critical
but stable" condition and that no more press conferences were scheduled
Schumacher turned 45 on Friday while still in an induced coma.
marked the birthday with a silent vigil outside the facility, part of
which was organised by Ferrari, Schumacher's former team.
Camera could provide clues
GoPro miniature camera, robust and popular among extreme sports
enthusiasts, has a 170-degree wide angle lens that takes in much of the
view and can show parts of the user's body including the face depending
on how it is mounted.
The latest models can take up to 30 images a second for six hours.
there are images and they are usable, they should shed light on the
circumstances of the accident on a small, seemingly innocuous off-piste
section of Meribel located between two ski slopes -- one classed as easy
and the other as intermediate.
Conflicting statements have emerged, notably about how fast Schumacher was going when he crashed.
are tasked with determining responsibility in the accident, with high
stakes possibly involved regarding any insurance compensation.
prosecutors and the ski resort say Schumacher was skiing at great
speed. Kehm has challenged that, saying he could not have been going
fast "because it appears he helped a friend who had just fallen".
Bourgin, a specialist on accident claims said: "There could have been a
catapult effect that explains the violence of the shock, even in the
absence of excessive speed."
Prosecutors are also looking at
whether the limits of the ski runs next to the 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.
They are also examining whether the safety releases on Schumacher's skis operated properly.
don't think it's normal that between two marked slopes there would be
this passage with rocks showing that is not fenced off," said Philippe
Streiff, a former French racing driver, in the French sports daily
A paraplegic since an accident in Rio de Janeiro,
Streiff visited the Grenoble hospital on Friday to hand a message to
Schumacher's wife Corinna. Other family members at his bedside include
his two teenage children, his father Rolf and brother Ralph, who is also
a racing driver.
Although Schumacher was conscious when
airlifted from the unmarked run in the Meribel resort, where he owns a
property, he was agitated and soon fell into a coma, prompting his
transfer to the Grenoble hospital.
He has undergone two operations to remove blood and pressure from his brain.
Saturday Kehm said any information on Schumacher's condition "not
coming from the doctors treating him or from his management must be
treated as invalid and pure speculation".
The accident has shocked legions of fans used to seeing Schumacher cheat death on the race track.
which brought in fans to Grenoble Friday from Italy and elsewhere in
France on board two buses, said on its website: "He is tackling the most
important fight of his life and therefore we want to send him very
The family responded in a statement Friday by
saying "the incredible sympathies shown today by the Ferrari fans
outside the hospital has utterly overwhelmed us and moved us all to
However, the Ferrari tribute created controversy, with
some accusing the Italian racing giant -- which asked fans to sport its
trademark colour red and its insignia -- of bad taste.
who made his debut in 1991, dominated Formula One during his career,
winning more world titles and races than any other driver. He retired in