Saved By The Whale: Train Runs Off Tracks, Is Caught By Statue's Tail

A runaway train in the Netherlands on Monday broke free of the rails on an elevated portion of the track and became airborne -- only to be caught by a huge whale's tail, Dutch officials say.

The tail was actually part of huge sculpture that stands near the tracks in Rotterdam. In what local officials are calling a "fluke," the first car of the train landed squarely on one the monument's two tails, which extend several yards above the ground. No one was more surprised by the unexpected save than the sculpture's designer, Maarten Struiis. "I'm surprised it's so strong," he says of the plastic sculpture. "If plastic has been standing for 20 years, you don't expect it to hold a metro carriage."

Now local authorities are faced with a whole new problem: How to get the train down from the sculpture's tail, says security authority official Carly Gorter. "A team of experts is investigating how we can make it safe and get it down," Gorter says. "It's tricky."

Photos: Getty Images

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