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Former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher 'critical' after ski accident

Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher has had a skiing accident in the French Alps. The German former driver is said by local media to be in critical condition after falling and hitting his head on a rock.

The German former drivers' champion was receiving treatment in hospital for injuries he sustained after a ski accident at the Meribel Ski Resort in the French Alps on Sunday, officials at the resort reported.

The driver was reported to be in "critical" condition, according to the French television news station BFM-TV. The local newspaper Le Dauphine Libere also reported that the 44-year-old's condition had worsened.

Schumacher was hospitalized at the nearby town of Moutiers, the French Mountain Gendarmerie said, before being airlifted to a hospital in Grenoble.

Schumacher was reportedly skiing off-piste when he fell, according to the Mountain Gendarmerie, which added that he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, in which when he sustained what they described as a "relatively serious" head injury.

In an email to the Associated Press news agency, Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm said the former champion was on a private skiing trip, and "fell on his head."

"We ask for understanding that we cannot give running updates on his condition. He wore a helmet and was not alone," Kehm said without providing further details.

rc,jlw/pfd (Reuters, SID, dpa, AP)