Some people believe that public art doesn’t serve a purpose, but a recent incident outside of Rotterdam proves otherwise. When a metro car overran the stop blocks at the De Akkers station, it was saved by a large sculpture of a whale. Now it’s left dangling 10 meters (33 feet) in the air on top of the sculpture.
Ironically, the sculpture is titled Saved by a Whale’s Tale, which this train most certainly was. If not for the sculpture, it would have plunged into the water below or onto the adjacent footpath. Luckily, no one was injured, as the train was empty and the driver was able to free himself without injury. It’s still not entirely clear what caused the accident, which occurred just after midnight.
Sculptor Maarten Strujis installed the artwork, which is made of reinforced polyester, in 2002 and was impressed that it held up to the weight of the train. “I could never have imagined it that way, but it saved the operator’s life. The damage is an afterthought,” he marveled. “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.”
Authorities are questioning the driver and conducting an investigation into what went wrong. In the meantime, the train continues to rest on the whale’s tail. And, it looks like it might stay there a bit longer. “Given the complexity, this will take some time,” a spokesman for the Rotterdam-Rijnmond safety region said. “It will be quite an exercise to get that thing off and get it safe.”
A whale sculpture saved a metro car in the Netherlands from plunging off the tracks.