Survivor of Diana crash recovering
September 8, 1997
Web posted at: 11:32 a.m. EDT (1532 GMT)
PARIS (CNN) -- Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, the sole survivor of the car crash that killed Princess Diana, is on the way to recovery after extensive surgery but remains in intensive care, hospital officials said Monday.
The Pitie-Salpetriere hospital said that Rees-Jones, 29, underwent 10 hours of surgery on Thursday to "repair the multiple facial fractures" he suffered in the crash.
"Trevor Rees-Jones is in the process of recovering his consciousness, and his pulmonary contusion is progressively improving," a hospital statement said.
The British embassy in Paris also issued a statement on behalf of the bodyguard's parents.
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"The operation was a success and he has started on a long road to what we expect will be a full recovery," they said. "It will be some time before he will be able to speak to investigators."
Rees-Jones' account could be crucial for investigators who are trying to establish the circumstances which led to the death of Diana, her companion Dodi Fayed and the driver.
Last week, a French judge ordered new blood tests to be carried out on the body of the driver, Henri Paul, to see whether an earlier test, which had shown him to be legally drunk on the night of the accident, was correct.
The Fayed family protested the first test results and referred to video footage, taken at the Ritz Hotel shortly before the accident, which the family said showed that the driver had not been drunk. An investigator for the Fayed family said those who spoke to Paul did not believe he was drunk at the time.
French justice authorities have put several photographers, who followed Diana's car on motorcycles in an apparent high-speed chase, under formal investigation to establish what role, if any, they played in the accident.
As part of the investigation, police were checking cellular telephone records of the photographers in order to try to find out whether they made calls for help at the site of the accident, as required by French law.
Correspondent Harris Whitbeck contributed to this report.