The fire chief who was one of the first to help Princess Diana after her fatal car crash in Paris has finally spoken out after nearly 24 years.
According to Sgt. Xavier Gourmelon, when he arrived at the scene of the fatal car crash in August of 1997, Princess Diana was still “moving and talking.”
Gourmelon said that she turned to him and asked “Oh my God, what’s happened?”
“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,” said Gourmelon, who gave statements to police at the time but has never before spoken to the media.
The crash, in which the car hit the underpass at around 65 miles per hour, had instantly killed the driver, Henri Paul, and Princess Diana’s boyfriend, Egyptian billionaire Emad “Dodi” Fayed.
Gourmelon, who had no idea who Diana was when he stopped to help, recalled that she had seemed physically okay besides an injured shoulder.
After he helped load Princess Diana into the ambulance, a captain at the scene told him who she was.
“He tells me who she is and then, yes, I recognize her, but in the moment I didn’t,” he told The Daily Mail.
The first person who tried to help Princess Diana, off-duty doctor Frederic Mailliez, who stumbled across the scene of the crash when he was driving home from a party, also was unaware of her true identity,
Mailliez said that he saw that “two [victims] were already apparently dead” and two others, including Diana’s bodyguard, “were severely injured but still alive.”
He first helped Princess Diana, who was “sitting on the floor in the back” of the vehicle.
“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,” Mailliez said. “She looked fine for the first minutes,” he recalled.
“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 added.
Mailliez left the scene as soon as the emergency workers took over.
“And so I left the scene without knowing who I had been treating,” he told The Daily Mail.
They weren’t the only people in shock over her identity. Page Six reports: “News that it was actually Diana was so shocking, however, that the hospital’s duty chaplain, Father Yves-Marie Clochard-Bossuet, repeatedly hung up the phone when asked to attend, assuming it was a prank. He finally rushed over, however, recalling seeing her after she was covered by a sheet, having been pronounced dead.”
“I saw her for the first time there,” Father Clochard-Bousset told The Daily Mail.
“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,” he added.