Beast of a job getting car unstuck
SECURITY:THE PRESIDENTIAL vehicle that got stuck on a Dublin ramp on Monday was yesterday flown out of the Republic.
The bomb-proof Cadillac limousine, known as “the Beast”, had become wedged on a ramp while leaving the underground car park of the US embassy on Monday.
Eamon Kelly of Kelly’s Towing Service in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, the company called to tow the vehicle, said yesterday that it took his company three hours to remove it.
“It was a big problem because the vehicle was not designed to be towed,” said Mr Kelly. “It’s an armour-plated vehicle so there’s a lot of weight involved in it.”
Mr Kelly, whose son Keith attended the scene, said damage to the vehicle meant it could not be lifted in the normal way by its wheels. “It was tricky job, we had to adapt our vehicle to lift it because we wouldn’t be used to lifting American stuff . . . the lifting points on that were slightly different to what we would have on European vehicles,” he told RTÉ Liveline programme.
Mr Kelly, who said the suspension on the vehicle had been damaged, said the vehicle had to be brought back down the ramp because to bring it up the ramp would have done more damage.
Commenting on the atmosphere during the rescue operation, he said: “We were there for about three hours until the time it was moved, because, don’t forget, you are under severe pressure in the sense that you have secret service and you have police, and everyone knows how to do it.”
Once the vehicle was unwedged, Mr Kelly said it was put on a low-loader truck and brought to a secret location on Monday night before being brought to an aircraft yesterday afternoon.
He said his son was not allowed into the vehicle during the operation. “Security was very tight; every move we made they were there watching.”
Footage of the moment when the limousine got stuck has become a YouTube hit. It was initially thought Barack Obama and his wife were in the vehicle at the time. The White House later confirmed they were not.
Mr Kelly said that while the vehicle “wasn’t bunched” it “wasn’t driveable”.
He described the job as the company’s “most high profile” rescue.