Sgt. Xavier Gourmelon, a fire chief who was on the scene when Princess Diana's car crashed in 1997, has revealed what she said to him when he found her after the accident.
“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,” Gourmelon — who has given statements to the police but never the press — said.
Diana's boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and the driver, Henri Paul, were instantly killed, but the late princess seemed to be in decent shape.
"Then others took over. This all happens within two or three minutes," Gourmelon explained, adding that Diana's shoulder looked messed up, "but you can't just rely on what you see."
Then, Dr. Jean-Marc Martino, a specialist in anaesthetics and intensive care treatment, arrived and told Gourmelon to remove Diana from the vehicle.
"So that’s what we did," Gourmelon explained. "We took her out and first put her on a wooden board and then . . . on to a mattress filled with air. It stops the person from moving around, to avoid spine trauma. But when we moved her from the board to the mattress her heart stopped beating. So we started giving her heart massage, two of us, and her heart started again almost immediately. From thereon in [her treatment] was all down to the doctors."
During this whole time, Gourmelon had no idea that Princess Diana was the one he was helping, but a captain later revealed her identity.
Off-duty doctor Frederick Mailliez — who came across the heartbreaking scene while driving home from a party — also had no idea that Princess Diana was hurt when he was trying to save her life.
"I noticed some smoke in the tunnel and I drove slower and slower and then I saw [the Mercedes]," Mailliez said. "The smoke is coming from its engine, which was almost cut in two, and the horn is blowing, on and on. There was nobody around the wreckage. Inside the Mercedes two [victims] were already apparently dead and two were severely injured but still alive. So, I did a very quick assessment. Then I went back to my car to get what little medical equipment was there. I had a bag valve mask, which I took. Then I went back inside the Mercedes and tried to give assistance to the young woman."
"She was sitting on the floor in the back and 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. So my goal was to help her breathe more easily. It was a pretty difficult situation for me. I was on my own, I had little equipment. She looked fine for the first minutes but the accident was very high energy and you always suspect severe [internal] injuries in that kind of situation," he continued.
“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.
Then, emergency workers took over, and he "left the scene without knowing who I had been treating."
Meanwhile, the hospital’s duty chaplain, Father Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet, was in shock when he saw Diana in a hospital room with a sheet over her head.
“I saw her for the first time there,” he said. “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."