Derailed Dutch metro train saved from disastrous crash by whale sculpture

Victoria Bell
·3 min read
The whale's tail of a sculpture caught the front carriage of a metro train as it rammed through the end of an elevated section of rails with the driver escaping injuries in Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The whale's tail sculpture caught the front carriage of a metro train that had rammed through the end of an elevated section of rails. (AP)

Incredible images show a metro train suspended in the air on top of a sculpture of a whale’s tail after running through barriers at an end-of-line station near Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The artwork, aptly named Saved By The Whale’s Tail, prevented the train from plummeting 10 metres (32ft) into a cycle lane below at around midnight in the city of Spijkenisse.

The driver, the only person on the train at the time of the accident, had a miraculous escape and was able to get out of the train, according to reports.

The man was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure but is not believed to have suffered any injuries.

Police who arrived at the scene shortly after the incident reported there were no passengers on the train.

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Investigations are ongoing as to what caused the train to run through the safety barrier, which was knocked tens of meters away on to the cycling path below, police said.

The sculpture, erected in 2002 , is the work of artist Maarten Struijs and was installed to represent the end of the line at De Akkers metro station.

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“The metro went off the rails and it landed on a monument called Saved By The Whale's Tail. So that literally happened,” Carly Gorter of the Rijnmond regional safety authority told AFP news agency.

"Because of the whale's tail the driver actually was saved, it's incredible."

The whale's tail of a sculpture caught the front carriage of a metro train as it rammed through the end of an elevated section of rails with the driver escaping injuries in Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Investigations are ongoing as to what caused the train to run through the safety barrier, which was knocked tens of metres away on to the cycling path below, police said. (AP)

The crash woke people living in the nearby houses, according to Dutch News.nl.

“It was a noise that lasted two or three seconds,” one person said. “I realised that there was something on the tail… I thought ‘something very odd is happening here’.”

The whale's tail of a sculpture caught the front carriage of a metro train as it rammed through the end of an elevated section of rails with the driver escaping injuries in Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The artwork was erected at the end of the tracks in 2002. (AP)
The whale's tail of a sculpture caught the front carriage of a metro train as it rammed through the end of an elevated section of rails with the driver escaping injuries in Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Emergency services are working together to see how they can safely salvage the metro. (AP)

Artist Struijs told Dutch news site NOS he was shocked the structure did not break.

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He said: "It has been there for almost 20 years and... you actually expect the plastic to pulverise a bit, but that is apparently not the case."

The whale's tail of a sculpture caught the front carriage of a metro train as it rammed through the end of an elevated section of rails with the driver escaping injuries in Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The sculpture, aptly called Saved By The Whale’s Tail, is the work of artist Maarten Struijs and was installed to represent the end of the line at De Akkers metro station. (AP)

Emergency services are working together with the artist to examine how to safely salvage the metro train and whether the sculpture is holding it up safely.

The area will remain cordoned off for the time being.

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