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Fireman who attended Princess Diana's crash: 'I thought she was going to survive'

Xavier Gourmelon also revealed the royal's final words to him

by Gemma Strong

A firefighter who attended the scene of Princess Diana's car crash in Paris has said he was certain she would survive. Xavier Gourmelon has spoken for the first time about that fateful night, and admitted he had no idea at the time that the lady involved was the Princess. "The car was in a mess and we just dealt with it like any road accident," he told the Sun. "The woman, who I later found out was Princess Diana, was on the floor in the back."

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Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car crash in a Paris tunnel on 31 August 1997

The 50-year-old said that Diana did not appear to be seriously injured when he first reached her, stating that she had a "slight injury" to her right shoulder, but otherwise appeared unhurt. "I held her hand and told her to be calm and keep still. I said I was there to help, and reassured her," he revealed. "She said, 'My God, what's happened?'"

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Xavier, who was in charge of a medically-trained fire crew at the scene, said that Diana soon stopped breathing, so he massaged her heart. She started breathing again, but later passed away in hospital. "As a first responder, you want to save lives – and that's what I thought I had done," he said. "To be honest, I thought she would live. 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. The whole episode is still very much in my mind. And the memory of that night will stay with me forever."