Princess Diana’s panicked final words have been revealed, with the firefighter who attended to the mortally wounded princess opening up for the first time as the 20th anniversary of her death arrives.
There has been months of attention leading up to the August 31 anniversary of Princess Diana’s death following a car crash in Paris, with documentaries sharing never-before-seen facts about her marriage and private life and news stories about her legacy. Now, the paramedic who delivered CPR to Princess Diana in her final moments is sharing his story, including Di’s last words as she was being treated for what turned out to be a fatal injury.
Xavier Gourmelon spoke to the U.K.’s Sun newspaper about the chaos he found upon arriving on the scene of the crash in Paris.
Gourmelon said Princess Diana was still conscious and responsive when she was first pulled from the Mercedes, and had few outward signs of trauma other than a slight injury to her shoulder. The firefighter said he did not know he was treating Princess Diana when he found her on the floor in the back of the car and began to treat her.
That was when Princess Diana spoke what would be the final words of her life, Gourmelon revealed.
“I held her hand and told her to be calm and keep still, I said I was there to help and reassured her. She said, ‘My God, what’s happened?'”
“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.”
Princess Diana stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest shortly after being pulled from the wrecked car, but Gourmelon said he was able to give CPR and revive her.
Gourmelon thought she would be able to pull through, and said he was shocked to later learn that she did not survive the crash.
“To be honest I thought she would live,” he said. “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.”
Gourmelon is not the only one opening up about Princess Diana’s final moments. French doctor Frederic Mailliez, the first physician to arrive on the scene of the crash, spoke to the Associated Press this week. Mailliez happened to be driving in the area when he came across the crash scene and said he treated Princess Diana — though he did not know it was her at the time — as she was one of two people conscious after the crash.
With no medical equipment in his car, Mailliez went to work with just his hands. Though the crash was traumatic for him, Mailliez said he does not believe there is anything more he could have done to save her.
“I checked with myself and I checked also with other doctors, professors of medicine, and actually I couldn’t have done anything better than what I did,” he said.
Gourmelon had never opened up before about Princess Diana’s final words and the last moments of her life, though did speak at an inquest at her death in 2007. He said that as a member of the French military at the time, he was forbidden to speak of her death, but has now left the service and “felt it was OK” to share his story.
[Featured Image by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]