Watching the horrific video of Formula 3 driver Sophia Floersch's car going airborne and slamming into a wall during the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday, it's hard to believe the German teen could have survived.
But Floersch, who is only 17, did make it out of the crash alive, and she was even tweeting afterward. She suffered a spinal fracture and underwent her first surgery on Monday, she said.
“Current interim information: The medical team is deliberately working slowly to avoid risks. The previous surgical course is good and without complications. The surgery that began this morning continues,” the teenage driver wrote on Twitter in German just before 6 a.m. ET.
The crash happened when the teenage German racer hit the back of another driver’s car and lost control, launching her into the car of driver Sho Tsuboi. Her car can be seen hurtling through the air before crashing over a barrier into an area occupied by photographers and track marshals. Tsuboi, two photographers and a racing marshal were also taken to the hospital, according to the BBC.
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“It was nearly a rocket. Surviving was incredible,” Frits van Amersfoort, the owner of Van Amersfoort Racing, Floersch’s racing team, told the BBC. "We reckon she was traveling at [172 mph] at the time."
The Macau Grand Prix restarted an hour after the crash.
Shortly after the crash, IndyCar driver Robert Wickens took to social media to support Floersch. Wickens was in a crash in August that left him paralyzed from the chest down due to an incomplete spinal cord injury, according to Wickens’ updates on Twitter.
"My sincere thoughts go out to @SophiaFloersch and her family after her horrible crash in Macau. Stay strong Sophia. Fight the fight," Wickens wrote.
My sincere thoughts go out to @SophiaFloersch and her family after her horrible crash in Macau. Stay strong Sophia. Fight the fight
In an interview with BBC, Van Amersfoot described the period following the crash as the worst of his life.
“It took quite a long time before the race control could say anything about the health of Sophia,” Van Amersfoot said. “We were lucky that she was flying because she went over a barrier. If she had hit the barrier it would have gone a lot worse.”
Floersch's crash came days after the fatal crash of drag racer Katarina Moller, at the Sebring International Raceway in Highlands County, Florida.
Moller, 24, was on her first run at the event on Thursday when she was observed drifting from the left lane into the center lane, and then going farther right, scraping the right barrier before going into a low-speed crash with a tire barrier, according to NBC affiliate WBBH in Fort Myers, Fla.
The cause of death is still being investigated, but according to a press release put out by the Highlands County Sherriff's Office, "the preliminary investigation has determined that a piece of debris impacted Muller’s [sic] helmet, which is what caused her death."
Floersch's crash is also still under investigation.