Here's the thing about making mistakes off-road: many times, it's not the initial accident that causes the most damage. No, time and again we've seen evidence that a poorly-planned recovery operation can do far more harm than good, and this clip of a rolled Toyota Land Cruiser turning into a downhill missile after being righted on a trail in China is one of the best examples yet.
The video first surfaced on the Instagram account shanghaijeepin on Monday and later spread to various schadenfreude-focused Facebook pages. It starts out showing a front loader pulling the already-smashed J100 Toyota Land Cruiser off its roof along the edge of a sloping ridge. An awkward flip sees the Cruiser successfully land back on four wheels, but panicked shouts arise off camera as the single tow strap connecting the truck to the tractor quickly unravels.
At that point, it becomes clear that no one thought to set the handbrake in the Land Cruiser as gravity takes over. A man who we presume to be the owner flaps his arms in dismay while the SUV starts its long, unguided journey down the slope, picking up an impressive amount of speed before hooking left and disappearing into a grove of trees. At least one tree disappears as well, indicating that somewhere down there now rests a pile of crumpled metal and splintered wood.
To be sure, the rollover had this Land Cruiser pretty well toasted already, but the way it flew down the hill indicates that at least the running gear was still in good shape prior to its rapid descent and sudden stop. We imagine it's probably a total loss at this point—but then again, salvage auctions have proved us wrong before. Still, it's a healthy reminder that even the best intentions can have the worst outcomes when it comes to off-roading.