Details of Crash Elude Bodyguard

Cafe Le Directorie
Café Le Directoire near the métro Convention.

'Airbag' - Cause of Crash?

Paris:- Saturday, 20. September 1997:- Early in the week, the bodyguard, Mr. Trevor Rees-Jones, who was the only survivor of the car crash which took the lives of Lady Diana, her companion, Emad Mohamed 'Dodi' al Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul, three weeks ago, reportedly regained consciousness.

Doctors thought Mr. Rees-Jones would be well enough to talk to the investigating judge, Hervé Stephan. The conversation took place yesterday - but as feared, Mr. Rees-Jones could remember little.

According to reports, he recalled photographers being in front of the Hotel Ritz after dinner and remembers getting into the car ? Mercedes with Diana and Dodi. Mr. Rees-Jones was also asked about the condition of the driver, Henri Paul, and he replied, "tres bien," - 'perfectly fine.'

I reported earlier in this column that the group, composed of of Henri Paul, Mr. Rees-Jones, Dodi and Diana, did not leave hotel by the front entrance where the number one car and paparazzi were waiting. They left by a rear exit, to the number two car.

Today, the International Herald Tribune quoted a Harvard Professor 'expert' who said Mr. Rees-Jones probably has a classic case of 'retrograde amnesia.' But there is, according to French doctors interviewed, a possibility his memory may come back over time; in part or in full.

The investigation is continuing. I presume the judge has vital information which has not been made public - no word has been published about skid marks, for example.

Since early reports mentioned that the car's airbags had been activated, not much more has been heard about them. Metropole rue des Juges Consuls Paris asked Mr. Richard Weiler, manager of Dusenbury Research of Fort Collins, Colorado about the effect of airbags. He replied:

"The accident involving Princess Diana is an exact match with our studies relating to the premature activation of the driver's airbag, which causes total loss of vehicle control.

Mr. Weiler continued, "This activation can happen for any reason but is more likely at high speeds - and if it happens then, it is usually fatal.

"Investigating this type of accident is difficult since it appears that everything functioned correctly. There is no technical solution for this fundamental defect of airbags since the problem is intrinsic to the concept."

Apparently Mr. Rees-Jones is alive thanks to having his seatbelt attached. Whether his head injuries resulted from his airbag exploding in his face, is not publicly known.

I regret I have no other new facts about the accident. I don't see any need to repeat any of the thousands of rumors flying about, so I won't. The mysterious circumstances surrounding this tragedy, remain mysterious.

With the non-news of Mr. Rees-Jones' reported statements, the 'Diana' story slipped to page 14 of today's Le Parisien, but was a front-page feature of the International Herald Tribune's Paris edition.

News On the Cheap

This week I have fallen behind - not with keeping up with the news - but with a desire to type out my version of it. It's late, I'm tired, I have a cold; so what follows is condensed 'Demi-News' in headlines:

Monday: No-Iron 100 Percent F2 TV news - Fete Huma Cotton Shirt Hits Market

Monday: Last Sunday's Annual 'Fête Humanité' Draws Huge Crowd

The 'Fête Huma' had a big crowd, good music and beautiful weather.

Monday: Former Tennis Star Yannick Noah's 'Pacifist' Version of 'Marseillaise' Raises Protests

Tuesday: France 2 TV-News Fails to Renew Popular Anchorman Bruno Masure's Contract

Tuesday: 20th Anniversary of Maria Callas' Death in Paris

Tuesday: Elvis Dead One Month Longer than Maria Callas; Did Not Die in Paris

Wednesday: President Jacques Chirac Pays Visit to Andorra

Thursday: National Conscription Ends in France

Saturday: One of 14 'Arianes' May Win Trip to South America for 100th Launch

Saturday: Grape Harvest Starts in Paris Suburb of Bagneux

Sports News

Due to sheer indifference - twice as much as normal, 'Sports News' is suspended yet again this week. All the same, Alain Prost still has not decided whether he will move his Formula One team to the Versailles area; for the 17th week in a row.

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