Teenager racer undergoes seven-hour surgery after her crash

Nov 20, 2018, 08:44 IST | AFP

Dramatic footage captured gasps from the crowd as the Van Amersfoort Racing driver's car flew through the air and into safety netting at the Guia Circuit's Lisboa bend, a sharp right-hander

Teenager racer undergoes seven-hour surgery after her crash
Sophia Floersch

A 17-year-old female driver spent at least seven hours in surgery Monday after fracturing her spine in a horrifying crash at the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix. The German racer Sophia Floersch hurtled into marshals and photographers after flying off the track on Sunday. "She was admitted for surgery at 10am (0200 GMT)," a press spokesman for Macau's health authority told AFP, saying that surgery was still ongoing into Monday afternoon. Dramatic footage captured gasps from the crowd as the Van Amersfoort Racing driver's car flew through the air and into safety netting at the Guia Circuit's Lisboa bend, a sharp right-hander.

Running 16th, she lost control in a contact down the straight, launched off a kerb and bounced off Tsuboi's TOM's Racing car. A medical report sent to AFP said Floersch was admitted to the emergency room of a Macau hospital with a spinal fracture in a stable condition. Floersch had reassured her fans on Twitter Sunday evening, before going into surgery the following day. "Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into surgery tomorrow morning," she said. "Thanks to everybody for the supporting messages." Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi, two photographers and a marshal were also taken to hospital for treatment.

German racer Sophia Floersch's car (top L) flying off the track at the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix in Macau. Pics/AFP
German racer Sophia Floersch's car (top L) flying off the track at the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix in Macau. Pics/AFP

The marshal suffered a broken jaw, while another victim had abdominal pain from a lacerated liver, according to the medical reports. "I hope everybody's OK after this crash, I wish them the best recovery," said European champion Mick Schumacher, the son of stricken F1 legend Michael, according to the Post. Jean Todt, president of the International Motoring Federation (FIA), said the ruling body would investigate the crash. The FIA "is mobilised to help those involved and analyse what happened," he tweeted. "We will monitor the situation and make the necessary conclusions."

Frits van Amersfoort, the principal of Floersch's team Van Amersfoort Racing, told the BBC she was travelling at around 276 kph (171 mph) at the time of the crash. "It was nearly a rocket. Surviving was incredible," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "I don't think I've ever seen anything like this." "I haven't seen all accidents in motorsport but this was surely one of the worst I've ever seen."

Nineteen-year-old Briton Dan Ticktum of Red Bull Junior Team won the race on the fabled Macau street circuit, which has been graced by F1 greats such as Schumacher senior and Ayrton Senna. At least three people have died on the Macau Grand Prix circuit. British rider Daniel Hegarty died last year after hitting a barrier at Fishermen's Bend during the Macau Grand Prix's feature motorcycle race. In 2012 Portugal's Luis Carreira and Hong Kong's Phillip Yau were killed within two days of each other during the Macau Grand Prix.

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