Princess Diana killed in Paris car crash
Prince Charles to accompany body to Britain
August 31, 1997
Web posted at: 11:35 a.m. EDT (1535 GMT)
PARIS (CNN) -- Britain's Princess Diana died early Sunday after suffering massive internal injuries in a high-speed car
crash, reportedly after being chased by photographers who were trying to snap
photographs of the princess.
Her companion and rumored lover, Dodi Fayed, and their chauffeur also died when the Mercedes crashed shortly after
midnight in a tunnel along the Seine River at the Pont de
l'Alma bridge, less than a half mile north of the Eiffel
Tower. A fourth person in the car, a bodyguard of the
princess, was also seriously injured.
The 36-year-old princess died from internal bleeding stemming
from major chest, lung and head injuries, doctors said at a 6
a.m. news conference.
"Diana's body arrived at the hospital in a condition of serious hemorrhage
and shock. Shortly thereafter, she went into cardiac arrest,"
said Dr. Bruno Riou, an anesthesiologist at Paris Hospital de
la Petie Salpetriere.
"An urgent surgery showed a severe wound to the left
pulmonary vein. Despite the closure of this wound and the
two-hour external and internal cardiac massage, no official
respiratory circulation could be established and she died at
4 a.m. Paris time," he said.
Prince Charles heads to France
Diana's body was to arrive in London around 7 p.m. (2 p.m. EDT) Sunday,
French police said. Prince Charles left Scotland early Sunday afternoon for Paris. From there he will accompany the body of his former wife on its return to Britain. Charles will also visit the hospital where Diana died to thank doctors for having tried to save her life.
Fayed's body was to return to Britain Sunday according to a Harrods spokesman. No further details are available.
The Prince of Wales woke their children, Princes William, 15, and Harry,
12, and informed them of their mother's death at Balmoral
Castle, Scotland, where they were spending the summer.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles said in statements early Sunday
that they were "deeply shocked and distressed by this
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "I feel like everyone else in this country: utterly devastated. ... She was a
wonderful, warm human being."
7 photographers detained
Diana's car was traveling at 80 to 85 mph (128 to 136 kph)
when the car slammed into a concrete abutment in the narrow
tunnel, careened into a wall and was crushed like an
accordion, police said. According to witnesses, Paparazzi -- the commercial
photographers who constantly followed Diana -- were pursuing
the car on motorcycles.
Authorities said seven photographers -- six reported to be French and one Macedonian -- were in custody, and a criminal investigation was
under way. Police seized two motorcycles and a motor scooter
believed used in the chase.
France Info radio said at least some of the photographers
took pictures before help arrived -- and that one of the
photographers was beaten at the scene by horrified witnesses.
|Harrods spokesperson Michael Cole relates Dodi's feelings for Diana
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"Serious questions will need to be asked as to whether the
aggressive intrusion into her privacy has contributed to this
tragedy," said British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.
Mourners gather at Kensington Palace
In London, people began gathering outside Diana's Kensington
Palace residence before dawn. Some sat with their heads in
their hands and wept. Flowers from mourners adorned the
One man lit two candles at Kensington Palace.
"I just feel disbelief more than shock," said student Fiona
von Schank, 24, who brought two roses. "It's amazing that
this woman who finally seemed to have just about found some
happiness has now died so tragically."
Diana and Fayed, the 42-year-old son of the billionaire
Egyptian owner of London's prestigious Harrods department
store, had arrived in Paris on Saturday afternoon on a
private visit. They had dined at the Ritz and were headed to
a villa owned by Fayed in a posh district in western Paris,
France Info reported.
Witnesses: at least 1 photographer at scene
American Mike Walker was among the first on the scene. He
said the car Diana was in "looked like it hit a wall."
|Eyewitnesses describe the crash scene
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American tourists Tom Richardson and Joanna Luz, both of San
Diego, were walking nearby and sprinted into the tunnel when
they heard screeching tires and a horrific bang.
"There was smoke. I think the car hit a wall. A man started
running towards us telling us to go," said Richardson.
Sir Michael Jay
, Britain's ambassador to France, expresses his sympathy
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Luz added, "The horn was sounding for about two minutes. I
think it was the driver against the steering wheel."
They described the car as a dark blue Mercedes, with the
passenger side airbag deployed, facing oncoming traffic.
They also said at least one cameraman with professional
equipment was snapping photographs less than 15 seconds after
|"I'll always remember Diana," says a mourner outside of Kensington Palace|
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"His equipment was very professional. His camera was a foot-
and-a-half tall," Luz said. "It definitely was not a tourist
Offering condolences via Web
The royal family's Web site, www.royal.gov.uk, invited users
to offer condolences. The site opens with a color photograph
of Diana smiling and dressed elegantly with a bouquet of
wildflowers. The caption is simple: "Diana, Princess of Wales
1 July 1961 - 31 August 1997."
On a special link, users can sign in on the visitor's book
and express their sympathy.
"Thank you for your kind message of condolence for the sad
loss of Diana, Princess of Wales," a message from the royal