Claudia Goossen (45) and Piet van Dam (52) from Leeuwarden gave each other the yes last Friday. And of course that new marriage had to be celebrated with a honeymoon. By car to Italy, because the couple is not averse to eating some miles. Claudia: “We were both truck drivers. Now we have our own driving school.”
Perhaps because of that background, they didn’t hesitate for a second when a driver on the A44 in Germany, between Paderborn and Kassel, ran into huge problems from one moment to the next. That man, a German thinker Claudia and Piet, drove a tipper trailer full of sand in the right-hand lane.
“Piet was behind the wheel. He had just said to me: go to sleep, then you can also drive a bit later. I closed my eyes and suddenly hear a very loud bang. When I opened my eyes, I saw I a huge cloud of dust.”
“I had gone to the left lane to overtake that trailer,” Piet adds. “I drove another thirty meters behind it. Suddenly he got a blowout and there was all that dust. All the traffic immediately braked, so did I. When I stopped and the dust lifted, that whole truck was gone.”
The driver had shot straight through the guardrail with his combination and crashed down from the slope. Piet didn’t hesitate for a second and ran down the slope, Claudia following. She also took a few photos out of a kind of reflex.
She says: “I was so shocked by what I saw. That damaged truck down there and all smoke. I yelled to my husband: leave it, Piet. That makes no sense. Whoever is in there is dead.”
But then it sounds from the cab: “Hilfe! Hilfe! Help!” When Piet reaches the driver, it turns out that he cannot unfasten his belt. Piet yells upstairs, where other motorists gather, that he needs a knife. He is quickly handed one. The driver himself cuts the seat belt. But the man is stuck with his leg and can’t go anywhere.
Meanwhile, Claudia throws sand at the places where smoke rises. In vain, the first flames are already visible behind the cabin. Piet looks back: “That man had to get out very quickly. I thought: pull, pull, even if I break his leg.”
Piet frees the driver. Two other men, who have also climbed down in the meantime, lift him away from the truck. A moment later the flames go out. Claudia: “I took the first photo at 6.06 am. At 6.14 am it was ablaze.”
The driver’s injuries appear to be minor, police officers along the highway tell Piet and Claudia. He is taken away by ambulance. “We are so happy that he is still alive. Every driver takes to the road in the morning with the idea of coming home in the evening. But this could have turned out very differently. Now his family can come visit him tonight.”
“It shouldn’t have taken two minutes longer,” Claudia sighs. Because the bridal couple wanted to get in touch with the unfortunate driver, Piet responded on Facebook under a news item about the accident, from a German news site.
This was noticed by the victim’s daughter. “We spoke to her on the phone. She told me that he is still in hospital with burns and a broken nose. She was very upset and wanted to know how it all happened. She promised to keep us informed. to keep.”
The two Frisians themselves took to the road again. And they can even laugh a little bit about it. Piet: “If this is a honeymoon with assignments, I hope we’ve had the toughest now.”
‘Can only get better’
Tonight they reach their destination, if everything goes according to plan from now on. “And I think we’ll talk about it for a while, yes, with a cold beer and a glass of wine.” And as for their marriage, “After this craziness, things can only get better.”