View Full Version : Diana's Mercedes and the vanishing flip

Paul Rigby
05-31-2009, 03:31 PM
Some time ago I raised on the Education Forum the subject of the curious case of the vanishing flip - the fact that early TV coverage showed the Mercedes on its roof within the tunnel while Diana, and her unmistakable shock of blond hair, remained within it.

Not only did my wife and I see it that Sunday morning, but eyewitnesses described it in the same day's newspapers (it made the late editions, certainly in the North West of England). One such eyewitness was African-American named Mike Walker. Last night I came across this radio interview with him, as carried by the Independent Radio News service in its 0530hrs news bulletin on 31 August 1997. Take a listen:

This RealAudio extract is seven and a half minutes long, and includes the non-broadcast instructions to radio station staff and the news broadcast itself.


Testimony of Mike Walker: “the car’s flipped over” (5 minutes 2-5 seconds into extract)

On the same website, one finds the following text. The rumour rebuttals are in brackets:


The same coverage continued for several hours, as no information was really available. Various wild reports were received, ranging from a multi-car pile up (There was only one car at the scene) to the car driving the wrong way in the tunnel (confusion as the French drive on the right and the car had flipped). There were also reports that the Princess had been seen walking from the car (obviously false) and the reports that the emergency service were still cutting victims from the wreckage (obviously false as the pictures on screen at the time showed that there was little else to do, and those pictures had been shown for at least the last hour).

The person responsible for this paragraph would appear to have been watching the same broadcast as my wife and I.

Finally, here's a couple of relevant extracts from Sunday's newspapers making the same point:

“Dodi is killed, Diana badly injured in Paris car crash,” Sunday Times, 31 August 1997, p.1:

“Mike Walker, an American tourist from Ohio, saw Diana’s overturned Mercedes in the aftermath of the crash: ‘We were travelling in the opposite direction and saw the car lying flipped over at the bottom of the hill…’”

The final quote below never ceases to provoke a smile. How does a car - a bloody big heavy thing like that Merc - "partially" fall on its roof? But you can see where the ultimate author of that curio is driving: the flip's about to vanish!

Greg Neal, Helen Johnstone, Tom Baldwin, Catherine Elsworth & Julian Nundy, “Paparazzi blamed as Mercedes smashes into wall,” The Sunday Teleraph, 31 August 1997, p.1:

“The couple’s Mercedes limousine reportedly hit a wall and turned over in the accident.”

Joanna Luz, American tourist interviewed by CNN: “The car was in the right-hand lane facing on-coming traffic.”

Mail on Sunday reporters, “Diana very grave after car crash,” Mail on Sunday, 31 August 1997, p.2:

“One witness at the scene said: ‘It looked as if the car hit the wall of the tunnel and flipped over.”

Luke Harding, Owen Bowcott, John Hooper, Paul Webster, Alex Bellos, Stephen Bates, Chris Mihill in London, Paris and Rome, “How a game of cat and mouse ended with carnage in Paris,” The Guardian, Monday, 1 September 1997, p.5:

“The Mercedes had partially fallen on its roof, crushing it and forcing the engine back into the driver’s and passenger’s compartment.”

Charles Drago
06-01-2009, 12:06 AM
The bodies plus Rees-Jones and Diana were extracted before the "historic" MB was butchered by the hydraulic rescue tool known as "the jaws of life." This was done to support the cover story of a severe, non-survivable crash.

Forged photos of a roofless limo and a Diana stand-in moribund in the rear seat appeared on the Internet soon after the assassination.

There was a second, "phantom" motorcade moving in advance of Diana's party; its mission was to blur perceptions and otherwise create the cognitive dissonance that is the doppelganger's primary brief.

I doubt an MB overturned in the Alma Tunnel, but I may be wrong.