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Bodyguard put on seat belt just before Diana car crash

Trever Rees September 21, 1997
Web posted at: 11:51 a.m. EDT (1551 GMT)

LONDON (CNN) -- The bodyguard who survived the crash that killed Princess Diana and two others strapped on his seat belt moments before the accident, French investigators said.

A study of pictures taken by photographers during the course of the night showed that Trevor Rees-Jones did not wear seat belts when the Mercedes left the Paris Ritz hotel on the night in question. But later pictures showed Rees-Jones wearing the belts shortly before the August 31 crash, which also killed Diana's companion Dodi Fayed and the driver of the car.

Police believe the last-minute action saved his life. None of the other occupants of the car were wearing seat belts.

Investigators said the evidence suggested that the bodyguard realized there was serious danger of an accident, either because of the speed of the car or because of the proximity of other vehicles.

Rees-Jones, who suffered severe injuries, was interviewed last Friday by investigators at the hospital but said he remembered nothing. The last thing he recalled was getting into the limousine around midnight.

Books of condolence closed

The books of condolence crammed with tributes to Princess Diana were closed Sunday, three weeks after her death.

Tens of thousands of people have written personal messages in the books, which were opened to the public on the morning of Diana's death.

The books have lain open day and night at her former home, Kensington Palace, for mourners to pay their last respects and tributes.

The small number that originally were made available was increased to 43 to cope with the vast queues of mourners, some of whom waited 12 hours through the night to pay their respects.

Buckingham Palace said the books would be offered to Diana's family, the Spencers, following their removal from Kensington Palace.

Sick children pay tribute at crash site

More than 100 sick children from London hospitals traveled to the crash site in Paris to lay flowers on Sunday. Diana often visited the hospitals to meet youngsters.

A convoy of 66 black taxis drove the 126 children to the Pont de l'Alma bridge along the Seine River where Diana's car crashed.

Reuters contributed to this report.


The Death of Princess Diana

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