Doctor at crash scene thought Diana would survive

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LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) The first doctor on the scene of Princess Diana's Paris car crash thought she would survive but he had no idea how severe her internal injuries were.

Dr Frederic Mailliez, who had worked for the fire brigade as an emergency doctor, was driving through the Alma tunnel on the night of August 31, 1997, just after Diana's chauffeur-driven limousine crashed on the opposite side of the carriageway.

Mailliez stopped and rushed across to see if he could help anyone in the smoking wreck, he told the London inquest into the deaths of Diana and her lover Dodi al-Fayed today.

Mailliez said he saw that al-Fayed and Henri Paul, the car's driver, were dead.

Next he turned to bodyguard Trevor Rees. ''Obviously he was alive because he was screaming,'' Mailliez told the London court by videolink from Paris.

He then saw Diana slumped in the back of the Mercedes.

''She was alive, she was moaning, but she was really weak,'' said Mailliez who discovered only next day who his patient was.

''I do not remember any serious injury on her forehead. I just remember a few drops of blood.'' Richard Keen, the lawyer representing the family of Paul, asked Mailliez: ''Do you remember saying ... that you thought the lady you had treated would survive?'' ''Yes, I said that,'' Mailliez told the lawyer.

But he did not know how severe her internal injuries were. ''I did not have any way to make any precise diagnosis,'' he explained to the court.

Mailliez said he was aware of paparazzi firing off flashbulbs at the crash scene as he administered emergency aid to Diana ''but they did not hamper me doing my job''.

The inquest, expected to last up to six months and cost up to 10 million pounds (20.87 million dollars), was opened after British and French police investigations concluded Diana and Dodi died because Paul was inebriated and driving too fast.

Dodi's father, Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed, alleges that Diana and his son were killed by British security services acting on the orders of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband and Diana's former father-in-law.

Under British law, an inquest is needed to determine the cause of death.

REUTERS SBC BD2206

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