A fire chief has spoken for the first time about Princess Diana’s final moments following her deadly Paris crash and what he did to comfort her.
A fire chief who was one of the first to help Princess Diana after her fatal road crash in Paris has spoken for the first time of how she turned to him and asked, “Oh my God, what’s happened?”
Sgt. Xavier Gourmelon told the Daily Mail that when he arrived at the devastating crash scene in August 1997, Diana was still “moving and talking.”
“She spoke in English and said, ‘Oh my God, what’s happened?’ I could understand that, so I tried to calm her. I held her hand,” said Sgt Gourmelon, who gave statements to police but has never before spoken to the press
Thereports the impact of the crash into an underpass — estimated to have been at around 105 km/h — had already instantly killed driver Henri Paul as well as Diana’s new boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.
Diana, however, seemed physically OK apart from an injured shoulder, recalled Sgt Gourmelon — who had no idea that he was trying to save a princess.
Only after he helped load Diana into an ambulance did he find out who she was from a captain at the scene. “He tells me who she is and then, yes, I recognise her, but in the moment I didn’t,” he told the outlet.
That was also true for the very first person to try to help her, off-duty doctor Frederic Mailliez, who stumbled across the crash scene while driving home from a party.
He saw “two (victims) were already apparently dead” and two others — including Diana’s bodyguard — “were severely injured but still alive.”
He first helped Diana, who was “sitting on the floor in the back” of the Mercedes.
“I discovered then she was a most beautiful woman and she didn’t have any (serious) injuries to her face. She was not bleeding (then) but she was almost unconscious and was having difficulty breathing,” he said. “She looked fine for the first minutes,” he recalled.
“So I began to speak English to her, saying that I was a doctor and that the ambulance was on its way and everything is going to be all right,” he said.
He left as soon as emergency workers took over. “And so I left the scene without knowing who I had been treating,” he told the Mail.
News that it was actually Diana was so shocking, however, that the hospital’s duty chaplain, Father Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet, repeatedly hung up the phone when asked to attend, assuming it was a prank.
He finally rushed over, however, recalling seeing her after she was covered by a sheet, having been pronounced dead.
“I saw her for the first time there,” he told the Mail.
“She was completely intact, no mark or stain, or makeup. Completely natural. And she was a really beautiful woman and it seemed as if … you could almost talk to her,” he said.
He immediately thought of her two young sons, Princes Harry and William, he said.
“They are going to have to wake them up and tell them, ‘It’s over’ … It is the worst thing,” he recalled.
This article originally appeared on theand is republished here with permission