VW bug placed on Golden Ears Bridge pier
A Volkswagen Beetle found its way onto a pier of the Golden Ears Bridge on April Fool’s Day.
The red shell of a VW bug appeared on a concrete piling Sunday morning and had TransLink puzzled as to just how it got there.
“It’s in a really tough spot, it’s quite impressive that they got it there, but it also makes it quite a challenge to remove,” said TransLink spokesperson Derek Zabel.
He doesn’t know who is responsible for the prank, but pointed a finger at the University of British Columbia’s Engineering Undergraduate Society, known for practical jokes that often feature the frame of a Volkswagen Beetle and bridges.
“You always hear rumours that it’s UBC engineering students who do it every year,” said Zabel.
TransLink intended to remove the VW shell from the pier on Monday and cautioned others against copy-cat stunts.
“It’s all fun and games, but when you have to remove something like this, you are going to put the safety of others at risk,” Zabel added.
“It is in a pretty precarious situation.”
UBC’s Engineering Undergraduate Society though was unaware of the April Fool’s prank and none of its member have claimed responsibility for it.
“It certainly has the hallmarks of an engineering-style prank,” said Hans Seidemann, vice-president of communications for the society.
The VW Bug was painted red – the colour of the UBC engineer jacket.
Unless, the words UBC or the letter E (for engineer) were spray-painted on the car, Seidemann can’t be certain someone from UBC was involved.
“The point to the pranks is to show of the ingenuity of engineering students,” said Seidemann, a third-year engineering student who has yet to participate in any headline-grabbing hijinks.
“It is usually to do something spectacular that makes people think, ‘how did they do that?’ And a little bit of boast to say, ‘here’s what we can do with our technical savvy.’”
The appearance of the Volkswagen shell in some unheard-of places has become an annual kick-off to Engineering Week at UBC.
Previously, the Beetles have been placed on the top of tall buildings and suspended from bridges, including San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which brought the students international media attention.
In 2009, however, five engineering students were arrested by police while trying to lower a Beetle off the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge in Vancouver.
Since then, Seidemann said the students have been more cautious.
“It set the whole pranking thing back a little way. The students got in some serious trouble,” he added.
The undergraduate society gives out the Larceny and Mayhem Award to engineers who execute successful pranks.
Other awards, or patches include: the Purple E, a crest for severe injury during participation in an engineering stunt; and the Black E, given to students who enhance the faculty’s reputation on a global scale.