The first doctor to treat Princess Diana at the scene of her fatal car crash early on Sunday, described the scene of panic he encountered. Doctor Frederic Mailliez told France-2 television today he happened to drive by only minutes after the accident took place in a road tunnel in central Paris.
"I stopped my car and went to see. There were many people around and lots of panic," said Mailliez, in his late 30s, who was off duty at the time.
He was the first person to treat Princess Diana, who was describes as, "unconscious...moaning and gesturing in every direction".
"I saw that two people were dead and two were seriously hurt. I went back to my car to call emergency services and give them a first medical assessment before returning to the site with some of my equipment," Mailliez said.
When he returned to the car, a man who turned out to be a volunteer fireman had started giving first aid to the front seat passenger, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, the only of the four people in the car who survived the crash.
"I therefore went to the aid of the young woman in the back who turned out to be Lady Diana. I did not recognize her immediately," Mailliez said.
"I helped to free her upper respiratory tracts," said Mailliez, who described how Diana's head lay on her own shoulder, "in a position in which you cannot breathe if you are unconscious."
"I therefore lifted her head and helped her breathe with an oxygen mask," Mailliez said.
Diana died in hospital more than three hours after the accident. Her friend Dodi Al Fayed was killed. Rees-Jones is seriously ill but doctors say his life is not in danger.
Mailliez said there were many photographers at the scene.
"About 10 or 15 of them, and they were snapping away at the car non-stop though one cannot say they hampered me or my work".
"They were just like the people you find milling around the site of serious accidents," he said.
Police were holding seven photographers in connection with the accident, and French media said police were seeking other photographers who left the site before they arrived.
The major U.S. tabloid National Enquirer has said it turned down pictures of Diana trapped alive in the car for $250,000.
Partially contradicting Mailliez, the police affairs correspondent of well-informed French daily Le Monde said eyewitnesses, presumably testifying to police, reported that photographers shooed away the first people who tried to come to the aid of those trapped in the car.
Journalist Erich Inciyan, who regularly breaks stories from Paris police headquarters, said eyewitnesses told of photographers pushing away would-be rescuers approaching the car in order to get unobstructed views for their cameras as those inside bled profusely.
He said photographers also argued with the first two policemen to reach the site, curtly asking the officers "to let them to do their job".
The newspaper said the crash came when the car, possibly driving at over 87 mph, swerved sharply in the tunnel to avoid a vehicle which suddenly loomed ahead, driving at the speed limit of 30 mph.