A horrific video shows a car crossing a drawbridge just as it was going up in Lantana, Florida. This footage is from late October.
Since the death of a 79-year-old woman fell to her death from a drawbridge in Florida earlier this month, there has been all sorts of footage uploaded by people having bad experience with drawbridges due to neglecting operators. Take this video for example, it was taken last October. The video shows a car on the Ocean Avenue Bridge in Lantana, Florida just moments after the bridge opened. The driver is lucky he was able to walk away from this one.
The footage was only recently release by news outlets, according to ABC affiliate news station WPBF, the Palm Beach County employee who was operating the bridge that day was terminated from his job soon after the incident.
According to ZipRecruiter, a job recruiting website. bridge tenders are in charge of bridge operations and safety during their shift. They need to keep up with maintenance and understand vehicle safety. As a main job description their duty is to watch for oncoming traffic, they have to communicate with other boat and train commanders to coordinate when the bridge can open and close for a boat or train to pass safely. "Career qualifications include a high school diploma or GED certificate," a piece about the career path on ZipRecruiter stated. "Most people in this career receive on-the-job training, but prior work experience with inspecting and repairing mechanical systems is often helpful."
In the video below you will notice that the car stops, you will also see a pedestrian gate close just off to the side of the video frame.
When the bridge started to raise, the car can be seen raising into a vertical position with the driver still inside, at this point you can see the driver opening his door and waving his hand while the car is almost at a 70 degree angle just moments before gravity lurches the car forward, slamming it back onto the ground.
You can see the driver in the video below get out of his car when all four-wheels were back on the ground, he can be seen looking around for a moment before taking out his cell to make a call, probably for help. While making his call, he is seen inspecting his car, as anyone would after that.
Moments after the scary situation was over, you can spot a boat passing under the bridge in the background, it is played in fast forward, so pay close attention.
The bridge eventually went back down, and the man is seen getting back into his car and is seen driving away. Maybe to a nearby parking lot to wait for authorities.
The bridge attendant told investigators that she didn't see the vehicle on the bridge, until she closed the bridge.
There is a lot of talk that the driver ignored the crossing gates coming down, and that he stopped for no reason on the bridge. As seen in the video, he was already on the bridge before the gates fully dropped, the arms come down first and then the bridge rose, this would have prevented the driver from going forward at all.
Then there are those people who say that he would have had enough room between the crossing arm and his car. I am not the one to victim blame as ultimately, the bridge tender is responsible for keeping an eye on traffic, bikers and pedestrians before raising the bridge, however you really can't ignore the fact that the driver stopped for about a half-minute on the seam where the roadway meets the bridge.
There is no excuse for the driver to be sitting there in the middle of the roadway. The driver doesn't seem to have any medical or engine problems occurring during the time this video was taken, as you can see the driver continue on his merry way after him and his car was slammed to the pavement.
The good thing is that the driver was okay. He is lucky as people who have experienced related situations with drawbridges were not as lucky as him.
Take the story of Carol Wright for example.
Carol Wright was just 79 when she was died earlier this month as she was walking her bike across the Royal Park Bridge, Wright reportedly tried to hold on for her life, but help didn't get to her soon enough as she fell 60 feet onto the mechanical elements of the bridge below. The lawyer for Wright's family say Wright was crossing the bridge legally at the time it opened on her. The family and lawyers are gathering more evidence and information before filing a lawsuit against the city. Fox13 reports.
The City of Palm Beach County, FL has 20 such bridges, some closing and opening every half hour or when requested. Problems like these are very rare, but they can happen. So, if you have to travel on these types of bridges during your commute, be alert... It may just save your life.
This article was first on Gear Head on February 23, 2022.