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Man who led Michael Schumacher rescue team opens up about finding driver on French slopes

The rescuer in charge of the operation to get Michael Schumacher off a mountain side in the French Alps has revealed how he saw the stone that hit the Formula One champion’s head.

Stephane Bozon, the man in charge of rescuing Michael Schumacher, has opened up on the aftermath of the devastating skiing accident in 2013.

He has spoken for the first time about the horrific scene rescuers saw when the team arrived at the site in Combe de Saulire in the French Alps. 

The seven-time Formula One champion is currently undergoing intensive care in his home in Lake Geneva, Switzerland, following the accident exactly five years ago where he suffered serious brain damage.

Mr Bozon described the difficulty in getting to the former Ferrari driver due to the tough mountain terrain and how lucky he was to be rescued. 

 

Ferrari Formula One driver world champion, Michael Schumacher, skis in Madonna di Campiglio, on January 2004

Michael Schumacher and wife Corinna in Italy in 2005. The F1 ace has not been seen in public since his devastating skiing accident in 2013

Michael Schumacher and wife Corinna in Italy in 2005. The F1 ace has not been seen in public since his devastating skiing accident in 2013

He told German magazine FOCUS: ‘The first responders only said that because the accident site was next to the slope, it was difficult for them to transport him carefully and cautiously.

‘I still remember that the emergency doctors of the helicopter had problems with the first care on the slopes because of the location of the accident.

‘It was clear that it was very serious, otherwise we would not have used the helicopter. Mr Schumacher was lucky.

‘I saw the stone Schumacher encountered with his skis and the stone he hit with his head.’

Mr Bozon, who is the Commander of the Mountain constabulary, added that Schumacher was skiing outside of the parameter areas. 

The seven-time Formula One World Champion fell while skiing with son Mick in Meribel in the French Alps on December 29, 2013. 

Schumacher, who turns 50 in January, hit the right side of his head on a rock, splitting open his helmet.

Stephane Bozon is the Commander of the Mountain constabulary described the scene his team witnesses when they arrived at Combe de Saulire in the French Alps

Stephane Bozon is the Commander of the Mountain constabulary described the scene his team witnesses when they arrived at Combe de Saulire in the French Alps

Schumacher  celebrating with Jean Todt after victory at the Italian Grand Prix in 2006 in Monza, Italy

Schumacher celebrating with Jean Todt after victory at the Italian Grand Prix in 2006 in Monza, Italy

An off-piste area with rocks between the slopes 'Chamois' (left) and 'Biche' (right) near the ski resort of Meribel in the French Alps

An off-piste area with rocks between the slopes ‘Chamois’ (left) and ‘Biche’ (right) near the ski resort of Meribel in the French Alps

He was rushed to hospital where he underwent several life-saving surgeries and spent the next six months in a coma.

Mr Bozon said Schumacher may have avoided the rock if there had been more snow on the day of the accident. 

He added: ‘It only takes a few minutes from the helicopter base in Courchevel to Meribel. 

‘I still remember that the emergency doctors of the helicopter had problems with the first care on the slopes because of the location of the accident.

‘That’s another reason why they decided to fly to Môutiers first to stabilise him.

‘The special thing was that it had snowed so little in the days before that the stones were slightly covered with snow, but only with a very thin blanket of snow. He could not see the stone.

‘But if it had snowed more, Schumacher would probably just have glided over the first stone. 

Schumacher suffered a severe head injury during a skiing accident in 2013 and spent months in a coma. He has been cared for at home by a team of medics ever since (pictured 2005)

Schumacher suffered a severe head injury during a skiing accident in 2013 and spent months in a coma. He has been cared for at home by a team of medics ever since (pictured 2005)

Schumacher won 91 races in his Formula 1 career and was world champion seven times, making him one of the greatest drivers to have ever lived

Schumacher won 91 races in his Formula 1 career and was world champion seven times, making him one of the greatest drivers to have ever lived

‘The operator of the ski resort is not at fault. Because if you go off the slopes, it is at your own risk.’

In April 2014, Schumacher woke up and was taken from the hospital in Grenoble to a private location, believed to be his house near Lake Geneva, where he is being cared for.

It is thought that Michael is being tended to by a team of 15 physicians who provide round-the-clock care at a cost of £115,000-per-week. 

He said of the investigation into the cause of the accident: ‘Some of our people were already at the scene in the afternoon. I was there the next day, took pictures, talked to experts.’

At the time of his release from hospital, his wife Corinna issued a statement asking for support in ‘our joint fight alongside Michael’, but said she would not be speaking further and asked for privacy. 

The couple married in 1995 after meeting at a Ferrari party, and have two children together: Gina-Maria, 21, and Mick, 19, who races Formula Three.

Mick won the Formula Three championship with a race to spare last month, and will now make the move to Formula Two with Italian team, Prema in 2019.

Michael’s manager Sabine Kehm typically issues the rare statements on behalf of the family to the press, while his lawyers speak on his behalf in court. 

 In comments from 2016, which have only been published this week, Khem said Schumacher ‘secretly dreamed’ of disappearing from public life.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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