HONG KONG (Reuters) - Teenage German Formula Three driver Sophia Floersch has had successful surgery with “no fear of paralysis” after an aerial crash at the Macau Grand Prix, her team boss said on Monday.
Floersch, 17, suffered a spinal fracture at the street circuit on Sunday when her car catapulted off the track and into a photographers’ bunker while travelling at more than 275 km per hour (171 mph).
“Everything is working and everything is in order,” team boss Frits Van Amersfoort told the BBC.
“(Paralysis) was the main fear. That’s why the operation had to be done quite quickly because there was a danger it (the spinal cord) could be damaged.
“We are extremely happy that she is now recovering and that everything went extremely well. There’s no fear of paralysis whatsoever.”
Floersch was conscious when taken to hospital in the former Portuguese colony, assuring her followers on Twitter that she was fine.
Jean Todt, president of the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), promised a full investigation.
“After the serious incident today in Macau the FIA is mobilized to help those involved and analyse what happened,” he said. “We will monitor the situation and make the necessary conclusions.”
Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi, who Floersch hit before flying through the catch fencing, was also taken to hospital complaining of back pain.
The Macau Grand Prix Organising Committee said in a statement he had been discharged after treatment.
Chief Medical Officer of the Macau Grand Prix, Chan Wai Sin, said two photographers and one track marshal were also injured in the crash and taken to hospital for treatment.
Crashes are frequent at the Macau Grand Prix which this year, in its 65th edition, hosted six car and motorcycle races on the 6.2-km Guia Circuit around the streets of the island.
Last year, British motorcyclist Daniel Hegarty died after hitting the safety barrier during a race, the eighth rider to have lost his life on the circuit since 1973.
Three motorcyclists were taken to hospital after crashes at the circuit this week with Britain Andrew Dudgeon requiring a metal rod to be inserted in his spine after a crash in practice.
Dudgeon comes from Britain’s Isle of Man where 270 motorcyclists have been killed in competition on the island’s TT circuits over the last 120 years.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney/Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Ken Ferris