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Criminal angle is ruled out

Paris: French investigators have ruled out any third party involvement in the ski accident of former Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher and have closed the case, the local prosecutor said on Monday.

“The investigation into the causes and consequences of the December 29 skiing accident of Michael Schumacher... Has been closed on February 12,” Albertville prosecutor Patrick Quincy said in a statement.

“No person has been found guilty of any violation.”

Schumacher, 45, has undergone two operations since sustaining brain injuries after hitting his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alps resort of Meribel.

The seven-time world champion was in a stable but critical condition until late January and doctors in the Grenoble hospital have started waking him up progressively by lowering his sedation.

The investigators tried to determine if any third party was responsible for his accident and if Schumacher was aware that he was skiing beyond the marked-out zone.

“Signalling, demarcation and information given on the limits of the piste were in line with the French standards,” the prosecutor said.

A source close to the investigation had earlier said: “The helmet completely broke, it was in at least two parts. Ensa (the world-renowned ski and climbing academy in the French ski resort of Chamonix) received one piece of helmet to check the material and all was ok. But why did it explode on impact?

“Here the camera comes into question. The laboratory is testing to see if the camera weakened the structure.”

Fans of the former Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes driver held a silent vigil shortly after his accident on his 45th birthday in support of their hero, while his family have maintained a presence at his bedside, with wife Corinna Schumacher speaking regularly to her husband as he continues his recovery.

Last week’s statement came after claims the most successful driver in F1 history was suffering from pneumonia, with Kehm refusing to elaborate on whether the reports were correct. Instead, she stressed that speed was not a factor in awakening Schumacher, and that decisive news will be released via official statements.

“As often in such situation, no day is like the next,” the statement read. “The family is thankful for ones understanding that they would not wish to disclose medical details in order to protect Michael’s privacy.

“As assured from the beginning we will continue to communicate any decisive new information on Michael’s health state. We are aware that the wake up phase can take a long time.

“The family continues to strongly believe in Michael's recovery and place all their trust in the doctors, nurses and nursing auxiliaries team.

“The important thing is not the speed of the recovery but that Michael’s healing process progresses in a continuous and controlled way.”

Schumacher, who quit the sport in 2012 after a disappointing three-year comeback with Mercedes following an earlier retirement from Ferrari at the end of 2006, won a record 91 Grands Prix.

The Formula One fraternity also showed their support for Schumacher.

Speaking on the opening day of testing at Jerez in Spain, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel said: “I have known him for a long time and have been looking up to him all my life.”