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THE STORY OF A CRASH INVOLVING “DIANA” IN FRANCE IN 1997

This part is about the type of car which was involved in the close proximity of the Mercedes car carrying “Diana” in the early hours of Sunday, August 31, 1997 (it was still Saturday, August 30 in the U.K., US, Canada and South America). Only a few seconds later the high speed impact with the support inside the underpass (tunnel) in Paris, France caused severe injuries in the car and some deaths occurred. All the photos are originally from my personal collection, though some are now public, and were taken during my enquiries when I travelled to France, where I used a variety of different names.

Eyewitness statements led to the French authorities attempting to trace a white Uno car in 1998. Two cars were examined and the examiners decided they were not involved in the incident. A Uno was not the car close by the Mercedes before it entered an underpass - it was a small station wagon or 'estate' type of car. The car was visually identified by “Diana” before the crash as a FIAT type Umbrata/Umbrato (also Umbrada/Umbrado), which was also marketed as the Innocenti Elba. (In South America, a similar car was known as the Duna Weekend). The body type has four doors and an extended load area at the rear, making it longer than the more popular Uno 'hatchback' or 'notchback' model.

A video recording of the intended journey from the hotel in Paris and then along Cours Albert 1er was handed to the police in England, United Kingdom (U.K.) in early September 1997 and the recording shows the car type in some short sequences on the small cassette tape. The images were transmitted by satellite from a modified Apple-compatible laptop (portable) computer used by “Diana” in the car and recorded at the time by me and other users on what she called 'the Commodore' network. I do not know where that computer is now. The collision caused the journey to end near the Pont d'Alexandre III (Alexander III bridge) area, so the Mercedes did not get to an underpass at Pont de l'Alma (75016), or the Place de l'Alma (75008). The Pont and the Place were approx. 28m distance and there was a walkway at surface-level connecting the two points.

The impact with the support inside the underpass was a result of an extra valve being activated in the braking system which caused the Mercedes to brake to one side, leading to a loss of directional control at a speed of over 100km/h (60mph). The momentum caused the car to spin violently across the road and hit the side wall of the underpass, then it went slow and back so the trunk (boot) hit a central support further on in the underpass before the car then came to a stop facing oncoming cars, on the right inside lane of the underpass. (In the major part of the world, people drive on the right, not on the left as in the U.K. and a few other nations).

The information was obtained by getting data from the computer and the car's built-in electronic modules at the time, from downloading data from those computers at a later date, and obtaining data from others such as the French authorities and a car 'tracking' system operator. I produced on an old computer a simple animation of the car's directions and impacts, and submitted the program, photos, a report and other documents to the legal authorities.

During my enquiries in Paris, I photographed a certificate of deceasement for “Diana” which was printed when I was present on August 27, 1998. It is normal procedure that the certificate was issued by officials of 13e arrondissement (district) of Paris, but the hospital where she died was in a different district.

In the U.K., I went to the place where the records were kept which record the burial place of “Diana” and I photographed a copy of the burial certificate which was authenticated in my presence by an official. It is reported that in her last will and testament she stated that on her death she wished “to be cremate.”, but she was apparently buried in a crypt in the island of the Oval Lake at Althorp Park, which is near the Althorp Estate in England.

After the incident in Paris a funeral car took the cask to an airport near Paris for it to be later repatriated to England and received by a coroner as unnatural deaths had occurred. Examinations were performed at the Hammersmith and Fulham mortuary that day.




A car put in storage in Paris and photographed in 1997. The car registration number should be displayed as SVQ703 a propane or butane powered model (special importation) and the car is from the Netherlands or Belgium.


 

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