Wednesday 18 November 2020

Mopedwrecked! Man stranded on lonely traffic island for 20 years

Bachem, Germany (dpo) - This morning, an alert lorry driver discovered an unkempt and haggard man on a lonely traffic island near Cologne. The man was immediately transferred to hospital and only later were officials able to ascertain that this was Benno Hansen, who went missing more than 20 years ago. Apparently, aged 16, he had been the victim of a mopedwreck.

Since his rescue, the circumstances surrounding the accident have been reconstructed: on his way home from a night out at a club in nearby Tönning, a tipsy Hansen lost control of his vehicle and collided with a traffic sign. It was a miracle that he remained uninjured but he soon realised that he was stranded on a traffic island. Dog units and helicopters searched the area for Hansen for two weeks until he was finally declared dead.
Hansen before his disappearance
Hansen himself is in generally good health but is being monitored for psychological reasons. He currently has difficulties communicating but managed to relate his experience to us. Whenever a vehicle came towards him, he tried to alert the driver to his sorry plight with beacons and wild jumping about. “I was convinced they could see me, but they simply drove past”, Hansen says, shaking his head in despair.
At least the mopedwreck survivor did not go hungry: “I mainly lived on snails and insects – luckily, they were quite plentiful on the traffic island”, Hansen says. He also managed to kill the occasional passing badger or hedgehog with his improvised spear.
The German Road Search and Rescue Service blames politicians for Hansen’s dire fate, albeit indirectly. The organisation, which deals with traffic emergencies, has long demanded that traffic islands be equipped with flare pistols and reflective vests. If need be, the vests could help physically fit vehicle-wreck victims to cross some narrower roads on foot.
ssi; first published 2017-05-05
Read the German version HERE.
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