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Photographer at Macau Grand Prix details his experience of Sophia Floersch's crash

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A photographer who was inside the Macau Grand Prix bunker has revealed the horrifying scene when Sophia Floersch's Formula 3 car was sent flying towards him.

Christiaan Hart, based in Hong Kong, was one of five photographers working in the bunker who captured the 276 kilometres per-hour crash.  

“It was like a missile coming at us,” Hart said.  

The crash transpired after the Van Amersfoort Racing driver's car had spun out of control and left the two left side wheels out of place.  

This effectively left Floersch without brakes.

After clipping a "sausage" kerb, the car was sent travelling through the air before impacting into the photographer's tent.

“I didn’t see the initial touch, just on camera after reviewing it,” Hart said.

“We were shooting the front cars initially, and then I saw through the camera she was coming out of control towards us.

“I thought she was gonna slide into the barrier and then you see this thing come at you a million miles an hour.

“The next thing you know there’s a loud bang, and we’re all on the ground. We checked if everyone was OK, then got up and checked where car was.

“Everything happened so quick, it was instant. One minute you see the car sliding, the next you see this flash go past you, then the sound and there’s no time to think.”

The car finally came to rest against an Armco Barrier, before Hart surveyed the scene.

“We were looking around to see what the damage was, then we looked out through the box to see if she was OK,” Hart said.

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“I could see her hands were moving, and we made eye contact, I could tell she was conscious.

“You shoot the scene, that’s why we’re there. If you could tell she’s not conscious then you probably would’ve not shot that.”

Most of the photographers, including Hart, were situated at the right hand side of the tent, for better shots down the straight.

However, Japanese photographer Minami Hiroyuki was standing on the left at the point of impact, yet miraculously only received concussion. 

“It was chaos in there, he was on the ground, a bit dazed,” Hart said.

“He said, ‘Yeah, I’m OK’ and got up and tried to shoot a bit more. Then he sat down again and that’s when we knew it was not so good.

“Initially no one came up – we had to call for the medics below to come up and assist him.”

Other injuries included a liver laceration for a local photographer Chan Weng-wang, who was below the bunker, and Chan Cha-in, a track marshal, was treated for cuts to the face and a broken jaw.  

“From the time we got up from the floor to the time we looked over, it was roughly 40 seconds and there were already two marshals on the scene with Sophia and checking her,” Hart said. “Then another 30 seconds and there were ambulances and medics, so the response was very fast.

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“There were two guys taken, they were around the car. One was under the car slightly at one point. They got him out very fast, I think the other was hit by debris.

“They were assisted very quickly. We saw them taken off out the back of the bunker on stretchers. You know they’re conscious and alive but don’t know what’s happened.”

It was clear to Hart that damage had been done to the bunker after the crash. 

“We said to each don’t go over there to the left – you could see the whole back of the bunker was blown out,” Hart said. “We stayed to the right but the whole structure had definitely shifted a fair amount.

“We couldn’t get out through the back exit, that had all been pushed down. There was a slight gap there where we eventually made our way out.”

Hart continued and stated it had taken a few days for the events to sink in. In that time, however, the Van Amersfoort Racing team got in contact with him.

“They wanted to reach out and check I wasn’t hurt, which shows they care,” Hart said. “They said they were extremely happy to hear I wasn’t physically injured, that it must have been quite an intense experience, and that they were hoping I was well.

“It was very good, I appreciate them reaching out, it’s something they didn’t have to do. It shows they’re thinking of everyone.”

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