By Martin Graham
TWO men defied death yesterday after a huge wave crashed against the van they were driving.
They drove on to Arborath pier at around 1.30pm to get a closer look at the epic waves whipped up by the high winds and rising tide.
A huge wall of water struck the van and knocked it sideways, leaving it dangling over the edge of the pier.
The men managed to escape from the vehicle and scrambled to a safe point on the pier.
A local fishing boat managed to pluck the men and remove them to safety.
Allan Russell, a mechanic from RNLI Arbroath, spotted the pair as they got into difficulty.
He said: “I looked out of the window from the lifeboat station at around 1.30pm and I saw them driving on to the pier.
“I couldn’t believe they were going down there in such poor weather conditions.
“A huge 20 foot wave came over and battered the van, knocking it sideways.
“The whole side of the van was caved in and the windshield exploded, each cubic metre of water weighs a ton.
“One of the guys got out and then managed to get his friend out and they moved to a safe spot on the pier.
“We called up a local boat and they managed to move in and remove the guys to safety.
“There were also six volunteers from the lifeboat summoned just in case they were needed.
“One of the guys suffered cuts from the broken windshield and got a bump on the head.
“The police and an ambulance were there and the guy was taken of to hospital for treatment.
“They were very foolish, the van could have easily been swept into the water and they could have drowned.”
A spokesman for Fife coastguard said: “It was a stupid thing to do, absolutely crazy.”
Sources said the men were employed by JS Joinery, a firm based in Arbroath, and that the vehicle was a works van
No-one from JS Joinery was available for comment.
Tayside police said that the van was swept into the water at around 2.25pm and sank immediately.
Angus Council closed the road close to the pier as a precaution.
Speaking yesterday (TUE) afternoon, a spokeswoman said: “At the request of the police, Angus Council roads staff have closed off a section of road at the foot of Arbroath High Street , from which the harbour area can be accessed.”