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This whale tail sculpture saved a train that went off the rails

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A giant art sculpture of two whale tails saved a Dutch train that overran the track from disaster by bringing it to a stop, preventing it from plunging to the ground below. The aptly-named sculpture is called, "Saved by the Whale's Tail," and the incident occurred at De Akkers metro station in Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam.

The silver sculpture was designed by architect Maarten Struijs and is made out of reinforced polyester, and it was installed at the station in 2002. While the cause of the incident hasn't been confirmed, it unfolded just after midnight when the train, which is part of the Rotterdam Metro network, shot through the automatic buffers at the end of the track, according to the train’s operator RET. It landed on one of the whale tails, saving it from plummeting 32 feet to the ground.

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People looking at the train that the train that went off the track and landed on a whale tail
The curious scene is attracting fascinated locals © Niels Wenstedt/BSR Agency/Getty Images
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De Akkers is the terminus for two metro routes – C from Capelle aan den IJssel and D from Rotterdam – and at the time of the accident, there were no passengers on board. The driver of the train was uninjured and managed to exit the train after it came to a stop. The track in question lies directly above water and the area can’t accommodate large cranes, adding to the complexity of the delicate removal process. "We are trying to decide how we can bring the train down in a careful and controlled manner," a local safety board spokesman told broadcaster NOS.

A train that landed on a whale tail sculpture in The Netherlands
The silver sculpture was installed at the station in 2002 © Niels Wenstedt/BSR Agency/Getty Images

As authorities work out how best to remove the train from its unusual perch, the curious scene is attracting fascinated locals, although they are advised to keep their distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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