December 17, 2011

by Stephen Jan in Paris, France

Team Last Responders had its first brush with disaster last night, Dec 17th. Since leaving Paris early Saturday morning, the weather ranged from cold drizzle to miserable down pour. At about 9PM local time, I was behind the wheel and maybe 50 km from Bayonne. The roads were pitch black, and the rain was coming down. I entered a stretch of road where the lanes narrowed from concrete barriers set up along the right due to construction. I was maintaining a speed of about 55 mph in the right lane when we came upon a slight bend.

As I took the bend, I made a small adjustment to stay in the narrow lane. The small adjustment turned into a wobble. The wobble eventually turned into a wild fishtail as the rear wheel hydroplaned.

The back of the ambulance was thrown into chaos as it slammed into the divider . Dennis, who was sleeping on the floor, flew up in the air. Mike tumble forward from the bench and shouted expletives thinking to himself that this was the end of the journey. Dennis thought we were off road and a roll was imminent. I thought we were going to slam into traffic. Fortunately, it wasn’t the end for us. Somehow I was able to regain control of the ambulance and we just kept going, all of us in shock. Once at the rest stop we stepped out to inspect the damage. Amazingly, there was barely any visible damage.

Next stop Seville! 713