Giant Rubber Duck Vanishes in Chinese Flood

Florentijn Hofman, Rubber Duck (2011), Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: courtesy the artist.

A giant rubber duck designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman has disappeared amid heavy storms in China’s southwestern Guiyang City, the Wall Street Journal reports. The 54-foot-tall, 2000 pound  inflatable artwork was perched upon a floating metal platform, tethered to the bottom of the Nanming river by steel wires.

The work has toured the world since 2007 and has been on display in the Netherlands, Brazil, Taiwan, Japan and Australia, drawing millions of spectators along the way. The sculpture’s tour, entitled Spreading Joy Around the World represents the union of people, according to the artist. “We’re one family and all the waters in the world is our global bathtub,” Hofman previously told the Guardian.

The duck was reportedly dislodged from its platform during serious flooding caused by torrential rains that have tragically claimed 32 lives and caused $50 million in damages in Guizhou province. Although the loss of a giant rubber duck pales in comparison to the loss of life, the disappearance of a 2000 pound sculpture is indicative of the level of destruction the storm has caused.

Yan Jianxin, the coordinator in charge of overseeing the duck told China Real Time, “The duck flopped over and was flushed away really quickly by the torrential flood. It disappeared right in front of me in several seconds.” Meanwhile, a local radio station is encouraging listeners to take part in locating the artwork, “If you live by the river and see an 18 meter tall big yellow duck please call.”

However, organizers are not expecting the sculpture to be found. An identical replacement has already been ordered from an authorized manufacturer in Taiwan and is due to be back on display shortly.

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