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France says no criminal fault for Schumacher accident

French investigators have said that Michael Schumacher's skiing accident was not due to any criminal wrongdoing. The auto racing great has been in a coma since the accident in the French Alps in December.

The office of Albertville prosecutor Patrick Quincy said in a statement on Monday that "no infraction by anyone has been turned up."

The rock that caused Schumacher to fall was 10.4 meters (34 feet) away from another rock on which he hit his head, according to the statement. Both rocks were more than 4 meters away from the edge of the red-level piste he was skiing on, it added.

"There were no breaches by anybody. The accident occurred in an off-piste zone," according to Quincy's office. "The signage, marking, staking and information provided about the edges of this slope adhere to French norms in place."

Serious injury

Schumacher, 45, suffered serious head injuries on December 29 when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock off the side of a demarcated slope. The former Formula One world champion has remained in intensive care at Grenoble University Hospital.

He has been in a medically induced coma since undergoing surgery to reduce bleeding and bruising. His body temperature has also been lowered to reduce the risk of further damage.

On January 30, Schumacher's spokesman said the drugs being used to keep him in a medically

were being slowly scaled back

with the hope of eventually returning him to consciousness.

His family

said Thursday Schumacher was "still in the waking up process," which could last some time. Experts have said it will likely be several months until his prognosis becomes clear and that permanent brain damage is a possibility.

Schumacher retired from Formula One in 2012 after a record 91 race wins and seven world titles.

dr/mkg (AP, AFP, dpa, SID)

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