French investigators have said Michael Schumacher was not skiing excessively fast when he fell and hit his head on a rock in the French Alpes, but have confirmed he did drift off piste.
Speaking at a news conference in French town of Albertville, Prosecutor Patrick Quincy said: “He (Schumacher) is evidently a very good skier. He digresses between three and six metres from the edge of the (Jallonez) piste. At one point his skis hit the edge of a protruding rock. He loses his balance and falls with his body forward. His head hits a rock which is about 3.5 metres further down.”
When asked about Schumacher’s exact speed, investigators said their inquiries were on-going.“We can’t assess the speed in kilometres per hour. We can’t give it a number for the moment, so that will be clearly indicated. But he was at the pace of a good skier on a slope that is not too steep. And this slope wasn’t conducive to making curves to reduce one’s speed,” French High Mountain Gendarmerie officer Stephane Bozon said.
'Schumacher wasn't skiing recklessly' - press conference (recorded live feed)
The ex-Formula 1 world champion is said to have entered a small off piste area, between a red and blue slope, at the time of the crash.
One theory is Schumacher may have gone to help a fallen skier, but investigators said they had no evidence to verify this claim. They have said the French mountain slope had been prepared according to national standards.
Schumacher remains in a medically induced coma in the French city of Grenoble. His condition is described as critical but stable.