Fireman who saw Lady Diana in her last moments breaks his silence...
On the 20th anniversary of that dark day, Xavier Gourmelon breaks the silence.
A heroic firefighter who could hear the last words of Princess Diana revealed a few months ago his opinion in relation to the horrible car accident in Paris, stating that he thought he had saved her life by performing several attempts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Xavier Gourmelon, 50, said the princess was conscious and had her eyes open as he tried to get her out of the shattered Mercedes Benz, even though she suffered cardiac arrest moments before being placed on a stretcher.
However, he managed to revive her again, making her heart beat again and her breathing resume in order to survive. Unfortunately, he was horrified when he was told later that Lady Di, then 36 years old, had died at 4 am in the hospital, despite the tremendous efforts of the surgeons to prevent it. Xavier, who spent 22 years as a firefighter in Paris before returning to his native Brittany, spoke in public of the accident only once, in evidence of Diana's research carried out in 2007.
Now, Xavier has felt able to offer his first journalistic interview, 20 years after that terrible day in August 1997, since he no longer works for the fire service. Gourmelon said that at first, he had no idea that he was treating the princess at the scene of the accident inside the Pont de l'Alma tunnel, near the Malar fire station, where he was working as a guard officer. "We were very close to the place and it took less than three minutes to reach the accident. My team of ten men was divided into two trucks, and we were the first to arrive. "
"The car was totally destroyed, and we treat it like any other traffic accident. That's when we got down to work to see who needed help and who was still alive. At that moment, Diana told me: "My God, what happened?" The woman, whom I later discovered was the Princess of Wales, was on the floor of the back seats. She moved very slowly, but I could see that she was alive. I also saw that she had a small injury to her right shoulder, but, apart from that, there was nothing significant. She was not bleeding at all," he said.
"I took her hand and told her to stay calm and take it away, that I was there to help her and reassure her. I gave her some oxygen and my team and I stayed by her side while trying to get her out of the car. Everything was very fast because we did not even have to cut anything," he said. However, moments later, the injured princess stopped breathing. Xavier, now in charge of emergency services at Brest Airport, reported: "We are all trained to offer first aid, and I saw that she suffered cardiac arrest and stopped breathing."
"I gave her a massage in the heart, and a few seconds later, she began to breathe again. It was a relief, of course, because, as a first response, you want to save lives, and that's what I thought I had achieved. To be honest, I thought I would get ahead. For all I knew, when she was in the ambulance, she was alive, so I expected her to live. But I discovered later that she had died in the hospital. I felt really bad. Now I know there were serious internal injuries, although the whole episode is still in my mind. The memory of that night will stay with me forever," he added.
"Then I had no idea that it was Princess Diana. It was only when they put her in the ambulance when one of the doctors told me it was her. I was totally in shock. I knew who she was, but I did not follow British royalty closely. I went to the ambulance and, when I looked, I could recognize her." Diana, the mother of Princes Enrique and Guillermo, died in the accident along with her lover Dodi Fayed and the driver of the vehicle, Henri Paul. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived, and now he is 49 years old. For his part, Xavier continued saying "I can still imagine it in my head. This is the first time I talk to the media. As a firefighter, I'm forbidden to speak, but now that I've left it, I felt it would be fine."
"For me, this was just a casual car accident, one of the many with which they have to deal with emergency services and the usual causes; speed and a drunk driver. When I got to the car I could see that the driver was already dead and that nothing could be done for him. Mr. Fayed was in the back of the car and in poor condition; He suffered a cardiac arrest in his interior and, when he was taken out, he was declared dead by a paramedic. The bodyguard was conscious, but he was trapped with very severe facial injuries. He was asked about the princess all the time, but I told him not to worry because we were taking care of everyone," he concluded.