Princess Diana was killed by a "very small injury" a top U.K. forensic pathologist revealed in his new book, adding that she didn’t have to die.
The new information is stunning and comes from Dr. Richard Shepherd, who investigated the British princess' death, The Daily Mail reported. Shepherd says Di easily could have survived and been walking around in public only days later.
The small injury, he says, just happened to be in "the wrong place,"
The Princess of Wales could have easily survived the 1997 car crash that claimed her life but a series of small, unfortunate factors ultimately resulted in her death, Shepherd explains.
"She actually suffered just a few broken bones and a small chest injury – but this included a tiny tear in a vein in one of her lungs," Shepherd wrote in his book, "Unnatural Causes," which recounts several cases he worked on.
Diana's death all came down to that tiny tear — an extremely rare injury that Shepherd said he has never seen in any other case. At issue is that veins bleed much slower than arteries, making it much harder to identify and repair. The injury was deep in her lung where it was hidden.
Shepherd noted that Diana initially appeared to be "injured but stable" as she was loaded into the ambulance, but paramedics were not aware that she was slowly bleeding from her chest.
"Diana’s death is a classic example of the way we say, after almost every death: if only," Shepherd noted. "If only she had hit the seat in front at a slightly different angle. If only she had been thrown forward 10 mph more slowly. If only she had been put in an ambulance immediately. But the biggest if only, in Diana’s case, was within her own control. If only she had been wearing a seat belt."
Shepherd pointed out that, had she been restrained, she would have probably been back in the public eye sporting a black eye and perhaps a few fractured ribs and broken arm. She would have been alive.
"The pathology of her death is, I believe, indisputable," he said. "But around that tiny, fatal tear in a pulmonary vein are woven many other facts, some of which are sufficiently opaque to allow a multitude of theories to blossom. But I entirely concurred with the findings of the inquiry. It was a tragic accident."
Emergency workers arrived at the crash scene all those years ago shocked to find the Princess of Wales flitting between consciousness and unconsciousness. Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the princess’ death last year, former firefighter Xavier Gourmelon recalled what were possibly her last words.
Appearing on "Good Morning Britain," Gourmelon said he was convinced the princess would survive the incident.
"Nobody knew it was her, no one had recognized her," he said. "As I approached, there was a blonde person sitting on the floor, she regained consciousness and looked at me and said, 'Oh my God, what’s happened'."
Princess Diana was declared dead at 12.22 a.m. on Aug. 31, 1997.