Boulder removed in joint exercise

POSTED: 10/17/12 5:11 PM

St. Maarten – Traffic going to and from Point Blanche came to a standstill yesterday afternoon to facilitate the removal of a gigantic boulder which was precariously positioned on the edge of the rocky surface opposite the entrance of the Dr. A.C Wathey Cruise Facility.

The decision to remove the boulder came as a direct result of the damage that was inflicted by Tropical Storm Rafael which ripped several zinc sheets off a building on the premises of the harbor and caused several smaller boulders to tumble to the ground in the same area.

Huge risks were at stake during the almost five hours long operation involved members of the Fire Department, the ministry of Vromi, contractor MNO Vervat and the police. But thanks to the invaluable assistance from the Fire Department that is celebrating Fire Prevention Week, three workers were able to be hoisted into position via the extended ladder from a fire truck.

Even after they were in position, it was a painstaking task getting the strap around the boulder into place. The workers only managed that after two additional men joined the first three. After everything was in place and the long cable was attached to the machinery doing the pulling, all eyes turned skyward.

However, the first attempt failed after the connection snapped and a decision was made to pull from another angle and that was effective. It took less than 15 seconds for the boulder to be dislodged from its position and tumble almost 60 feet to the road below. With the exercise completed, the sigh of relief from all concerned was almost palpable.

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