Two decades after Princes Diana’s fatal 1997 car accident, the first responder who tried to save her life that night gave his first ever interview about the tragedy. Speaking with The Sun, Xavier Gourmelon opened up about pulling the princess from the wreckage in Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel and resuscitating her after she went into cardiac arrest.
“The car was in a mess and we just dealt with it like any road accident. We got straight to work to see who needed help and who was alive. Diana said to me, ‘My God, what’s happened?'” he said. “The woman, who I later found out was Princess Diana, was on the floor in the back. 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.”
Gourmelon thought he had effectively saved the princess’s life after that and hoped she would survive the accident.
“I massaged her heart and a few seconds later she started breathing again,” he said. “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. 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 hospital. It was very upsetting.”
Even to this day, Gourmelon says, “The whole episode is still very much in my mind. And the memory of that night will stay with me forever.”
This post was originally published in August 2017.