A teenage racing driver who fractured her spine in a horrifying crash at the Macau Grand Prix said Monday she was flying home to Germany for further treatment.
Seventeen-year-old Sophia Floersch’s car flew off the track in the Formula Three race earlier this month, catapulting spectacularly over safety barriers before hurtling backwards into a hut housing media and officials.
Doctors operated for 11 hours to repair her fractured vertebra and remove a bone splinter, which was sitting dangerously close to her spinal cord.
Despite her ordeal, Floersch has said she is determined to race again.
“Today I am flying back home. Really happy to see all my family and friends in the next days again,” she wrote in a Facebook post Monday, after spending more than a week in a Macau hospital.
Today I am flying back home. Really happy to see all my family and friends in the next days again. I am still overwhelmed by all the support I got from you fans all around the world. A big thank you goes to all people in Macau especially the guys in the hospital, Dr. Lau, Dr. Chan, Mr. Lei Wai Seng, Maria Elisa Goncalves, angel Sulanir Goncalves Pacheco and all wonderful nurses. The complete Macau GP organisation, Patrick, Dr. Ceccarelli, @hwaag_official and @mercedesamgf1 did a perfect job just by helping so friendly in every kind of way. I celebrated my 2nd birthday on the 18.11.2018 in Macau.... ...Now a new chapter starts and I can’t wait for it to begin. Let’s focus on 2019 #poweredbypassion #racegirl #season2019 #bestteamVAR
“I am still overwhelmed by all the support I got from you fans all around the world,” she added.
Dramatic footage captured gasps from the crowd as Floersch’s car flew through the air and into safety netting at the Guia Circuit’s sharp right-hand Lisboa bend.
Lying 16th, she lost control in a contact down the straight, launched off a kerb and bounced off Japanese racer Sho Tsuboi’s vehicle.
Floersch acknowledged her miraculous survival.
“I celebrated my 2nd birthday on the 18.11.2018 in Macau ... Now a new chapter starts and I can’t wait for it to begin. Let’s focus on 2019,” Floersch said in her post, ending with a fingers-crossed emoji.
Tsuboi received treatment but was considered to have had a lucky escape after Floersch’s airborne car hit the safety-arc or halo just behind his head.
A race commissioner and two photographers were also injured in the accident.
Floersch’s team boss has said the historic Macau circuit was not to blame after the accident raised concerns about safety standards. The International Motoring Federation (FIA) has opened an investigation.
The 6.2 kilometre (3.9 mile) urban circuit features long straights with speeds of about 275km/h, coupled with tight, blind corners.
At least three people have died on the Macau Grand Prix course.
British rider Daniel Hegarty died last year after hitting a barrier at Fisherman’s Bend during the Macau Grand Prix’s motorcycle race.
In 2012, Portuguese motorcyclist Luis Carreira and Hong Kong driver Phillip Yau were killed within two days of each other during the Macau Grand Prix.