Michael Schumacher: Will helmet cam reveal truth about ski fall?
A camera that Michael Schumacher was wearing on his helmet when he was seriously injured in a skiing accident has been handed to French authorities in the hope it will throw some light on what happened.
The former racing driver, who suffered a severe head injury while skiing off-piste in the resort of Meribel in France last Sunday, remains in an artificially induced coma.
He is in a critical but stable condition and it is believed his life was saved by his skiing helmet, which split on impact when he hit a rock. Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, said yesterday that investigators had been given the camera by relatives, dismissing speculation the move was against their wishes.
"Michael's condition remains critical but stable," she said. "We would like to clearly stress that any information regarding Michael's health not coming from the doctors treating him or from his management must be treated as pure speculation. The family cares only for Michael's health.
"In addition, Michael's helmet camera was voluntarily given to the investigating authorities by the family. That this should have been done against the wishes of the family is untrue."
Kehm spoke after former Formula One driver Philippe Streiff, a friend of Schumacher, told German television he had been informed by the surgeon friend of the family, Gerard Saillant, who is at the Grenoble hospital, that the German's life was "out of danger".
Members of Schumacher's family, including his wife Corinna and children Gina-Maria, 16, and Mick, 14, are also at his bedside, arrived at the hospital yesterday to be by his side. Schumacher was initially conscious after the accident, which happened on a family holiday, but deteriorated into a critical condition. Neurosurgeons have operated twice to remove blood clots on his brain and reduce swelling.
Schumacher retired from Formula One for the final time in 2012 after a three-season comeback with Mercedes. Schumacher, who also raced for Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari, won the last of his world titles in 2004. He won with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before notching five championships in a row with Ferrari from 2000.
Schumacher turned 45 on Friday with his family saying they were "overwhelmed" by the support of fans who gathered at the hospital.
The Ferrari team, for which he raced for during the majority of his F1 career, has provided 20 coaches to assist fans from Italy and France wanting to attend the vigil outside the hospital. In a message on their website, Ferrari said: "Forza Michael, he is tackling the most important fight of his life and therefore we want to send him very special wishes."
Boris Becker, the former Wimbledon champion paid tribute to Schumacher on Friday, tweeting: "Happy birthday, fight Schumi."
Fans at the vigil also spoke of their hopes for a full recovery. Stefano Pini, 47, an accountant who travelled from Milan to pay tribute, said: "Schumi has given us a lot in the past. The least we could do is to come here and support him and his family."
Gabriel Klose, a French fan who turned up with his 12-year-old son, said: "He is one of my greatest idols. We want him to fight and to return to us as soon as possible."