An Out-of-Control Train Was About to Plunge 33 Feet to the Ground—Until a Giant Sculpture of a Whale Miraculously Saved It

The sculpture's title is—kid you not—"Saved by the Whale's Tail."

An photo taken in Spijkenisse, on November 2, 2020 shows a metro train that shot through a stop block at De Akkers metro station, without making any casualty. It was prevented from plummeting into water by a sculpture of a whale tail called, improbably, Saved by the Whale's Tail. Photo by Robin Utrecht/ANP/AFP/Netherlands OUT via Getty Images.
An photo taken in Spijkenisse, on November 2, 2020 shows a metro train that shot through a stop block at De Akkers metro station, without making any casualty. It was prevented from plummeting into water by a sculpture of a whale tail called, improbably, Saved by the Whale's Tail. Photo by Robin Utrecht/ANP/AFP/Netherlands OUT via Getty Images.

A metro train operator’s life was saved by a work of art this morning. In a suburb of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, a train crashed through the buffers at the end of its track, but then ran into a large plastic sculpture, which prevented it from falling more than 30 feet to the ground.

No passengers were on the train at the time of the incident, at 12:30 a.m. The operator was unharmed after the train “shot through on approach” to the parking area, a transport operator said in a statement. At time of writing, no cause of the mishap has been reported.

If that weren’t unlikely enough, the artwork is in the shape of a whale’s tail, and the title of it is, of all things, Saved by the Whale’s Tail.

The sculpture shows two whales’ tails emerging from a waterway in a park under the elevated rail line at the De Akkers metro station in Spijkenisse.

Maarten Struijs, the architect who created the piece, was pleasantly surprised at the reinforced polyester sculpture’s strength nearly two decades after its construction, telling the Guardian: “I am amazed that it is so strong. When plastic has stood for 20 years, you don’t expect it to hold up a metro train.”

Locals had requested the artwork as compensation when the installation of the tracks led to the some loss of public space in the park, Struijs told CNN.

Local authorities now have to remove the train carriage from the lifesaving sculpture. “Given the complexity, this will take some time,” a spokesman said. “It will be quite an exercise to get that thing off and get it safe.”

The art world was quick to make the most of the incident. After assigning the scene to its followers as a daily doodle, London’s Royal Academy had a nonpareil parting shot:


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