First doctor on scene 'thought Diana would live'
By John Bingham
Copyright 2007 The Scotsman
AP File Photo
The first EMS responders at the scene of the car crash that killed Princess Diana in 1997 recount her final moments as an inquest investigates the issues surrounding her death.
LONDON — The first doctor to stop at the scene of the crash which killed Diana, Princess of Wales thought she would survive, he told her inquest yesterday.
Dr Frederic Mailliez was driving through the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris in the early hours of 31 August, 1997 when he came upon the princess's crashed car in the opposite carriageway.
Not realising who was inside, he stopped and ran across the tunnel to the smoking wreck to see if he could help.
He could immediately see that the driver, Henri Paul, was dead, as was the man he later learned was Diana's lover, Dodi Fayed.
Bodyguard Trevor Rees was alive, but very seriously injured in the front passenger seat.
"Obviously he was alive because he was screaming," he said.
In the back seat was a woman whom he did not recognise.
He only learned that the woman he had battled to save was Diana the next day when he saw the news.
"She was alive," he recalled. "She was moaning, she was breathing, but she was really weak, I would say unconscious and weak."
He added that the princess's face appeared unscarred.
"I do not remember any injury on her forehead," he said.
"I just remember a few drops of blood, but I would not say a serious injury."
Having worked for the fire brigade as an emergency doctor, he was able to call the dispatch centre directly and give an initial medical assessment.
When the first ambulance arrived he handed over to the medical team and left with a friend who was waiting in his car.
During cross-examination yesterday Richard Keen, QC, representing the family of Mr Paul, asked him: "Do you remember saying that you thought the lady you had treated would survive?"
He answered: "Yes, I said that."
But he was not aware of the extent of her internal injuries.
Sergeant Xavier Gourmelon was in charge of a medically trained Sapeurs-Pompiers (fire service) team which took over from Dr Mailliez.
He told the court the princess's heart stopped as she was being freed from the wreckage and had to be resuscitated.
Speaking from Paris by video link, Mr Gourmelon told the court he was shown the woman in the back of the Mercedes, who was clearly still alive.
He said: "She was conscious, she could speak to me."
He said help was immediately brought to the three people who were accessible, including Diana whom he personally dealt with.
"It was first aid treatment, to make sure her head [was] sitting in the right position, and we administered oxygen," he said.
She was moving her arms around and he attempted to calm her down, the court heard.