AN F1 LEGEND: Former Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher is still fighting for his life following a horror accident. Image: AFP
GRENOBLE, France, Dec 30 - Seven-times Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher was fighting for his life on December 29 after suffering severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps resort of Meribel.INQUIRY LAUNCHED
Philippe Quincy, the Albertville public prosecutor, told Reuters an inquiry had been launched on Sunday to identify the causes of the accident. Initial findings indicated the blow was so hard that Schumacher's helmet had shattered.
Quincy said: "We know that the accident took place in an off-piste zone where rocks were partly or totally hidden by snow. Schumacher had likely been thrown off balance by one of them."
The retired F1 driver slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste on Sunday morning in the French Alpine resort where he has a vacation home.
Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetician at the CHU hospital in the
eastern French city of Grenoble, told a news conference: "For the moment
we cannot say what Michael Schumacher's future is. We are working round
the clock - we are trying to win time."
"His helmet did of course protect him at least partly. Someone who had suffered a similar accident without a helmet would not have made it here (to the hospital)."
Schumacher was initially conscious as he was transported to a local hospital in Moutiers and then to Grenoble. However, his condition deteriorated sharply afterwards.
Neurosurgeon Stephan Chabardes said an emergency brain scan carried out on Schumacher had revealed internal bleeding and injuries including contusions and lesions. He said they had operated to treat the internal bleeding.
Doctors said Schumacher had been placed in an artificial coma but, contrary to an earlier French media report, said they had not carried out a second operation during the night and were not planning any further interventions at this stage.
GMM has reported that more information about Schumacher's fight for life will be forthcoming on December 31 2013.
The SID news agency reports that an update about the seven-time world champion's medical condition will be given from the hospital in Grenoble early in the day.
It is not known if Schumacher's condition has changed since the press conference on Monday, but rumours and speculation are rife.
Schumacher's family, his wife Corinna and two children , are at his bedside, and there are reports his brother Ralf and father Rolf are also at the hospital.
Ralf Schumacher, who drove for Williams and Toyota until 2007, has blacked out the home page of his personal website.
Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm said: "The family is not doing very well, obviously."
She hit back at reports that Schumacher, a lover of skydiving, swimming with sharks and motorcycle racing, took one risk too much on the snow.
Kehm said: "It was not an off-piste track. They (Schumacher and his son Mick) were skiing on pistes, but in the moment that it happened, it was not on the piste."
One British neurosurgeon told the Guardian newspaper that if Schumacher recovers, it will take him "weeks, even months".
Triple F1 world champion Niki Lauda said: "He's a perfect man, a solid man, an outstanding guy. He would not take unnecessary risks. He's not stupid."