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Camera shows Schumacher off trail

TWO minutes of footage from a camera on Michael Schumacher's ski helmet showed the Formula One great was skiing well off a groomed trail when he lost his balance and crashed, leaving him with critical head injuries.

Investigator Bruce Quincy today gave fresh details of the accident at the Meribel resort in the French Alps which has left Schumacher (45) in a medically induced coma.

Quincy would not estimate Schumacher's speed, though he said it "is not an important element of the investigation".

He said experts still need to go through the footage "image by image", but he said Schumacher crashed nine metres outside the marked trail.

He also ruled out any problems with Schumacher's skis.

Meanwhile, the F1 legend's family has asked for him to be left in peace as he is treated in hospital.

His wife Corinna said it was very important that the media "eased the burden on the doctors and the hospital so they can do their work".

She also asked reporters gathered at the hospital in Grenoble, France, to "please leave our family alone".

Sabine Kehm, a family spokesperson, added that only official press releases and news from the family should be believed, and that anything reported elsewhere "must be treated as pure speculation".

The last official update on his condition, on New Year's Eve, said he had undergone a second successful operation, after which he had shown "slight improvement".

But it also said he was in a "stable but critical condition".

The former Ferrari driver turned 45 on Friday.

The firm organised a vigil outside his hospital to mark the day.