Pengolodh (s.c) (pengolodh_sc) wrote,
Pengolodh (s.c)

Tonight I came very close to getting killed in an accident.

Or at least it felt, and feels, very much like that - I am not sure I've ever been so scared.

I work as a tourist guide for a museum - partly at the museum itself, and partly guiding excursions from the Hurtigruten coastal express ships to the museum. These excursions pick up passengers from Hurtigruten in one port, take them to the museum for a Viking feast, and return them to the ship in the next port of call.

Tonight I'd been guiding one of those excursions, and the bus with just me and the driver was returning home after delviering the passengers to the ship. The weather was not the best, but we'd had little trouble on the way - going home, however, it was getting a fair bit worse, and the weather forecast had predicted winds of Force 8 and 9 through the evening.

As the excursion starts on one island and takes us across another island to a third island, we have to cross two bridges on the way - this is is the biggest of them, with a length of 839 meters (ca. 2750 feet) and a height of more than 30 meters (100 feet).

Shortly before reaching the highest point of the bridge, a particularly strong gust of wind - probably well in excess of the forecast windstrengths - grabbed the bus, twisted it and slammed the right corner of the front hard into the railing of the bridge. The driver - herself badly scared by now - got the bus moving again (it's not like we could stay there), but after another short while, another windgust slammed the bus into the railing even harder.

Both times, I and the driver both were convinced that there was no way the railing was going to hold, that it would break, that the bus would go over and drop about 100 ft - into water holding around 4 degrees Celsius (about 40 Fahrenheit) and with even lower air tempreature, hundreds of feet from land, in gales bordering on storm.

Obviously, it did not break - we got moving again, and got down from the bridge and on land again, and could park the bus at a bus stop near the end of the bridge. At this point neither the driver was not in any shape to continue, and the bus was rather mauled (front entry door smashed out of shape, right headlights ripped off and hanging on by the electrical wires, grill ripped nearly completely off) and so we phoned for help and a lift home from the owner of the bus company.

I don't know the actual design criteria for the railing on the bridge - how strong it is - although considering the winter weather we get here and the traffic typical on that road, I imagine that it probably has been designed to withstand just this type of accident with even heavier vehicles.

Still - there, on the bridge, with the wind throwing the bus against the side of the bridge, I was absolutely convinced I was at the scene of my death.

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