Firefighter who treated Princess Diana after fatal car crash reveals her heartbreaking final words
"To be honest, I thought she would live. As far as I knew when she was in the ambulance she was alive and I expected her to live," firefighter Xavier Gourmelon said.
The death of Princess Diana came as a shock to not just the people of Britain but to everyone around the world. The last moments before the death of the beloved princess are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Nearly 20 years after the unfortunate accident, one of the firefighters, who was at the scene of the car collision, revealed never-before-heard details of what may have just been the princess' last words. The royal was in Paris with her beau Dodi Fayed and was trying to get away from paparazzi who had been tailing them all day. As their car driver, Henri Paul sped away, the car crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel.
The crash claimed the lives of the driver, the princess, and Paul. Diana's bodyguard was the only one who survived the crash. The firefighters arrived at the tunnel and among them was Xavier Gourmelon. Speaking to The Sun on the 20th death anniversary of the princess' death he revealed that she was very much alive when the emergency services reached the site. "The car was in a mess and we just dealt with it like any road accident," Gourmelon, who has worked as a Paris firefighter for 22 years said. "We got straight to work to see who needed help and who was alive."
Gourmelon said that he found the princess in the carnage and she was very much alive and even conscious. He noted that she had her eyes open and said to him, "My God, what’s happened?" He managed to pull her out of the wreckage. “She was moving very slightly and I could see she was alive…I could see she had a slight injury to her right shoulder but, other than that, there was nothing significant. There was no blood on her at all,” explained Gourmelon. Along with his teammates, she was lifted from the backseat of the Mercedes and onto a stretcher. This was when she suffered from a cardiac arrest.
“I massaged her heart and a few seconds later she was breathing again,” Gourmelon said, according to The Rolling Stone. “It was a relief of course because, as a first responder, you want to save lives – and that’s what I thought I had done." He even held her hand and told her to be calm and keep still, reassuring her that everything would be okay. “I gave her some oxygen and my team and I stayed by her side as she was taken out of the car. It was very quick because we didn’t have to cut any of the wreckage,’’ he recalled and added, "To be honest, I thought she would live. As far as I knew when she was in the ambulance she was alive and I expected her to live. But I found out later she had died in the hospital. It was very upsetting.”
At the time Gourmelon was unaware that there were serious internal injuries. But the incident is still very fresh in his mind. "And the memory of that night will stay with me forever," he said. "I had no idea then that it was Princess Diana. It was only when she had been put into the ambulance that one of the paramedics told me it was her." The fireman was so focused on saving her life, he did not recognize one of the most well-known people in the world at the time. “I was so shocked. I knew who she was, but don’t follow British royalty closely," Gourmelon said. "I went to the ambulance and looked in and that’s when I recognized her.”
He decided he could shares these last moments with the world after two decades of her passing since he no longer worked with the fire department of Paris. "This is the first time I have spoken to the media. As a fireman, you are part of the French military so you are forbidden to talk. Now I have left the fire service I felt it was OK," he explained.