On November 2, in the Netherlands, a train and its driver survived a crash after breaking a barrier at the end of a subway elevator. Fortunately, instead of falling from a height of 10 meters, the train – barely, but still – landed on the tail of a giant statue of a whale.
The driver, who was the only person on the train at the time of the accident, managed to leave the carriage in time and he was not injured. No other people were injured in the Rotterdam metro incident.
It is unknown at this time what caused the crash, but an investigation has been launched into why the train safety measures were not implemented. Police questioned the driver, but could find no indication that he had done anything wrong.
The news of the accident soon spread and dozens of people gathered around the spectacle. Officials urged people to disband and reminded that compliance with COVID-19 security measures is still mandatory.
“It looked like a Hollywood movie scene. Thank God the [statue] tail was there,” said Ruud Natrop, Rotterdam area security officer.
The sculpture, which consists of two 10-meter whale tails, was created in 2002 by architect Martin Struigs. A funny coincidence is that the statue is called “Surviving by a Whale Tail”. According to the Dutch News Agency, it is based on the idea of a “rail tail” – a phrase used to describe the part of the rail on which trains are parked during non-working hours.
When Sturridge heard the story of the accident, he was very surprised that the sculpture, which was made of hardened plastic, managed to catch the weight of the train.
“I could never have imagined that, but it saved the driver’s life. I’m very surprised that it turned out to be so durable … When the plastic has been there for 20 years, I do not expect it to withstand the weight of a train,” Sturridge said.
Struigs said the picture of the damaged subway car resting on his statue was “a work of art in itself.” He noted that these photos are reminiscent of the Rode BMW scene – a 1987 Kunst & Vaarwerk artwork of a life-size red car frozen in the parking garage wall in the middle of a fall.
Photographer Joey Bremer also arrived at the scene of the accident. His photos of the hanging subway have found real recognition on Twitter. Bremer said he received thousands of retweets and hundreds of messages in the morning.
“I was amazed. I have been doing this for years, but it is really memorable. You can not invent such a thing,” said the photographer.