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While I was growing up, I knew an old farmer who never fastened his seatbelt. He insisted that if his truck flipped, he wanted to be “thrown clear.” Even in those days, I knew the logic didn’t apply to any vehicle more advance than a tractor without a roll bar. The chances of surviving your flight from a rolling wreck are nearly nonexistent. But an off-roader in a viral video walked away from just such an accident.

The vertical video of the wreck (embedded below) has gone viral on every platform from YouTube to TikTok. I still haven’t figured out where it originated. But the beach in question is in Kuwait. And the 4×4 in question is a Toyota FJ Cruiser.

In the full length video (over two minutes), the SUV drives in circles slowly on the far end of the beach for a full minute. Then, for some reason I can’t understand, it drives along the surf slowly with the driver’s door open. I really am not sure what the driver was thinking. That sounds like a recipe for salty upholstery.

At the beginning of the often reposted short clip, the driver points the Toyota’s nose at the cameraman and floors it through the surf. The car races up the beach, at least two wheels in the waves at all times. It is moving so fast, a boy playing in the water runs in front of it to get clear. And lucky thing he does.

2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser posed
Toyota FJ Cruiser | Toyota

The FJ finally loses traction. It fishtails far to one side, then back the other way. As the rear end swings uphill, the SUV finally flips and rolls out to sea. I count two full rotations before it rolls to a stop, its passenger side door fully submerged.

The most incredible moment is during the second rotation. The door stays shut, but the centrifugal force flings the driver through the window. The man sails sky high, flailing as he somersalts. His peak height (achieved while fully inverted) appears to be at least 20 feet above the ocean. Then he flips over again before landing on his ass in the shallow water. Ouch.

The first time I saw the video I fully expected the driver to remain submerged, suffering from a broken spine or some other horrific injury. But nope, the man stands up and limps ashore. He is hunched over with his hands gingerly holding his hips and back at first. But as he walks he sees his car and throws his hands up in despair. A crowd of other men, who I presume were watching the hooning, run down the beach and gather around him.

I’m all for a pulling a donut or two. And I’ve done my own share of off-roading. But for heaven’s sake, wear your seatbelt!

Next, watch Ken Block’s final Gymkhana through Mexico City, or see the FJ Cruiser video embedded below: