A couple with a one-year-old child in the backseat lived a nightmare in Leuven, Belgium on Oct. 27 of this year. They found themselves trapped on the Marie Thumas Bridge as it began to raise in order to let a boat through, and their little red hatchback was no match for disaster.
The driver of the car made a valiant effort at keeping the wheels to the pavement, but the angle of the bridge got too high. The car then tumbled backward onto its roof on the pavement below.
You can watch the full video here:
The family was transported to the Gasthuisberg, Carscoops reports, but no one was seriously hurt — though they were all probably quite shaken up.
The short video doesn’t really give us much info about how the situation happened. Did the driver ignore the signs that warned the bridge would be rising? Did the car stop on the bridge for a totally different reason, only happening to find itself in danger as the bridge raised? Was there a malfunction with the warning system? The clip is too short to know, and Belgian officials haven’t officially released a cause. All I know is, this whole situation is horrifying.
I grew up in Michigan, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, has plenty of lakes, rivers, and waterways. My family frequently headed to Bay City to go shopping, and to do so, we had to cross a bridge on both the route there and on the return. Like the bridge in Belgium, it was one of those bridges that raised to allow large boats to pass under. And I was always horrified by the prospect that I might one day get stuck on this bridge while it raised.
If you’ve never experienced one of these raising bridges, it works a lot like a railroad crossing in the sense that, before the bridge starts doing anything, some lit-up poles come down to block the way. Should it have assuaged my fear? Yes. Did it? No. Never. What if it failed? What if something went wrong? Nothing in life is guaranteed, especially not a bridge.
It never went wrong for me, but seeing what happened to this Belgian family has revived fears that I totally forgot I had and brought up childhood traumas I had only previously imagined.