Frank van de Goot is a forensic pathologist and is specialized in the field of reconstruction and the cause of breaking patterns. He has investigated the fragment found on the mountain by Paul. He has answered three questions.
1. Did the fragment originate from a helmet?
2. If so, could this be Christiaan’s helmet?
3. Can anything be said about how this fragment came to be?
Because Christiaan owns a Petzl Sirocco: EPP helmet, the fragment has been compared to a new identical helmet. Based on the comparison of openings, the nature of the material and the color, it was determined with probability bordering certainty that the fragment was part of a Petzl Sirocco: EPP helmet.
The fragment could have come from Christiaan’s helmet. Investigations have determined that the fragment has been exposed to outside air for less than three months. It is also very well possible that this period has been one or a couple of weeks.
DNA investigations currently taking place could provide more certainty about whether or not the fragment was part of Christiaan’s helmet.
Based on investigation of the break edges, it was determined that the helmet was compressed, in forward-backward direction. This caused the helmet to be distorted sufficiently for it to break. The lack of skin cells and blood make the assumption that Christiaan was wearing the helmet less likely. This can however not be excluded. Other possible causes for fractures like this include a fall on top of the helmet (during which the helmet is not on the head), a fall of the helmet or the helmet getting stuck between, for example, moving rocks.
The DNA analysis is currently still in process.