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Job whale done as Dutch train lifted to safety
The overhanging section of a subway car is lifted off a sculpture in the shape of a whale's tail where it ended up the day before in Spijkenisse, near the port city of Rotterdam on November 3, 2020. A runaway Dutch metro train was saved from disaster on November 2, 2020 after it smashed through a stop barrier but then came to rest on a giant sculpture of a whale's tail. Instead of crashing into the water 10 metres (30 feet) below, the front carriage ended up suspended dramatically in the air, propped up only by the silver cetacean. The driver of the train, which had no passengers on board, was unharmed in the fluke incident which happened just after midnight at Spijkenisse. In a twist of fate, the fortuitously positioned artwork is called "Saved by the Whale's Tail". Marco de Swart / ANP / AFP.

SPIJKENISSE (AFP).- Cranes safely lifted a Dutch metro carriage off a huge sculpture of a whale's tail on Tuesday, a day after the artwork stopped the runaway train from crashing to the ground.

The train smashed through buffers at the end of the line at Spijkenisse near Rotterdam early on Monday and was left suspended 10 metres above the ground, propped up only by the huge silver monument.

In a painstaking, dawn-to-dusk operation, emergency services cut the 22-tonne front carriage from the rest of the train on Tuesday before two enormous yellow cranes lifted it to the ground.

"It took some more time than we actually wanted to," Carly Gorter, spokesperson for the Rotterdam-Rijnmond safety region, told AFP at the scene.

"It is because we couldn't really see what was under there (the carriage) and we found some things that we didn't calculate so that was a safety risk."

Some superficial damage could be seen on the 20-year-old sculpture, which stands in a local park and is coincidentally named "Saved by the Whale's Tail".

The driver of the train was unhurt in the incident and there were no passengers on board at the time.

Gorter said the cause of the crash remains "really unclear" but that Dutch authorities were hoping that the train's "black box" data recorder, located in the front carriage, would provide more clues.

© Agence France-Presse

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