Whale tail statue saves lives

Joe Talerico, Staff writer

In the early hours of the morning on Nov. 2, the tail of a whale sculpture saved a metro train that was falling off the end of a railway platform in the Netherlands.

The train was going to De Akkers station in Spijkenisse, which is a suburb located south of the capital Rotterdam.

Instead of stopping at the end of the railway line, the Dutch train crashed through the buffer stop at the end of the platform.

“A metro shifted through the ending of the rail, smashing the wood and concrete and ended several meters beyond the ending of the platform. A work of art saved it from falling down, saving the driver’s life,” witness Killian Lindenburg said, according to ABC News.

The train would have plummeted more than 30 feet from the platform, but luckily for the train and its driver, a stone whale tail was there to catch it.

According to Forbes, the incident occurred after midnight, around 12:30 a.m. The front of the train fell perfectly onto the top of the whale tail.

The sculpture contains two whale tails emerging from a pool of water, and it was installed in 2002 to represent the end of the railway line.

In fact, the sculpture was accurately named “Saved by the Whale’s Tail.”

ABC News reported that the Rotterdam police and emergency services responded to the accident and found no injuries at the scene. The train had no passengers at the time, so the driver was the only person on board. The driver was able to exit through the back of the train himself, and he was taken to the hospital as a preliminary measure.

Police are unsure as to why the train crashed through the barrier, and investigations are ongoing. They have also interviewed the driver as part of that investigation.

The train suffered considerable damage and was left balanced on the statue for the rest of the day.

The artist who created the sculpture, Maarten Struijs, was shocked it held up.

Like something out of a movie, the artwork was perfectly placed, as if on purpose. The following day, two large cranes used chains to hoist the front carriage off the statue and lower it to the ground.

ABC reported that the operation took the entire day, and it required workers to remove the wheels off the carriage and cut it loose from the rest of the train.

A crowd of around 30 people watched and cheered as the train finally reached the ground. In times of pandemic and difficulty, many of us turn to art for comfort, relief and entertainment.

Whether it was an act of God or a life-saving coincidence, this time art went above and beyond for humankind. They say that art saves lives, but this time it was much more literal.