A mild summer night that turns tragic. On August 31, 1997, as the moon lights up the Haussmann boulevards of the capital, a terrible crash breaks the peace of the night. A vehicle crashes into a pillar of the tunnel under the Alma bridge.
“The Princess of Wales Lady Di died last night in Paris in a car accident”. A few hours later, it is with this announcement that the France 2 newspaper opens, shocking the whole of France.
Only that night, a journalist well known to the French audiovisual landscape found himself on the scene by the greatest of chance. Indeed, Bruce Toussaint, today one of the leading faces of BFMTV, was still a young presenter of Canal news flashes.
He was then enjoying, with two of his friends, a classic late summer Saturday evening. “We went for a drink at Villa Barclay, a club located on avenue Matignon,” he tells Le Parisien. Around 1:30 a.m., as they return home, the three friends discover a traffic accident.
The number of flashing lights seems impressive and Bruce Toussaint then decides to get out of his vehicle to investigate. “When I learn of Princess Diana’s involvement, I immediately wake up Canal’s information director at the time, Erik Gilbert.”, he explains to our colleagues.
The young journalist thus takes his two friends on board to go to his editorial office to broadcast a live flash of a few minutes while a US Open match was in full broadcast.
After recovering the images of the accident from CNN, he improvises with the teams on site and announces, live, the death of Lady Di, while his two “friends”, as he says, watch him from the control room.