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Woman seriously injured in rooftop snowfall

Published: 05 Feb 2010 06:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Feb 2010 06:30 GMT+01:00

A 55-year-old woman was seriously injured by falling snow from the roof of a building in Blackeberg in Stockholm on Thursday. The cold snap has led to a record number of reports from worried pedestrians over hanging ice.

Large amounts of snow fell over the woman as she was walking past a seven story building in the Stockholm suburb.

"She sustained a compression fracture of the vertebrae. She stood upright and her body was crushed together by the snow fall," Bengt Kihlberg at west Stockholm police said on Thursday.

The woman was rushed to hospital who were later able to confirm her condition as stable.

A further woman was taken to hospital on Thursday afternoon after she was hit by falling ice on Södermalm in central Stockholm.

The woman sustained a cut to her head, received ten stitches and was then able to leave the hospital.

Since the snow began falling in Stockholm in December the city's "icicle hotline" has received some 1,800 calls from concerned residents and visitors over the large amounts of overhanging ice and snow from buildings.

This is as many calls as would be expected in a whole season.

It is the responsibility of the individual property owners to ensure that the roofs of their buildings do not pose a potentially fatal hazard to pedestrians.

The service was launched following the death of a 14-year-old boy in 2003 on the city's main shopping street Drottninggatan.

Members of the public can call 08-50 380 280 and their information is then passed on to the property owner who is turn responsible to removing the ice and snow.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:21 February 5, 2010 by sagar
and why shouldn't the property owner be sued for a couple of millions ... its beyond my understanding, probably some swedish legal or political expert can tell me why the heck there shouldn't be a punitive - civil as well as criminal tortious liability
16:11 February 5, 2010 by wifey
In some countries, the administrator of a building gets fined for not clearing off snow and icicles. The fine isn't huge but it's a start...
18:47 February 5, 2010 by Puffin
In Sweden too the property owner is liable for clearing rooves of snow and icicles etc. There was a case of aroof clearance company director convicted of this a few years ago.

This is something to think about if you own a coop apartment (bostadsrätt) as YOU are liable for injuries unless you have signed over the rights to a clearance company - best to check that the förening has sufficient insurance
03:35 February 6, 2010 by Davey-jo
OK, now I see why you have laws about clearing snow of your roof.
06:23 February 7, 2010 by Grand Daddy Mac
I know the spirit of Old Sweden is still popular in the hearts of many, there must be some who would like to help the elderly poor, at reduced price or no cost, just think an early morning rout could do wonders for the soul.
20:50 February 7, 2010 by cattie
I lived just footsteps from where the boy was killed by an icicle in 2003. Ever since I mind where I walk in the city, as far from the building as possible. But sometimes, with balconies or bay windows, it is near impossible to avoid icicles without walking in the street traffic. There is no such thing as punitive damages, just actual damages. Actual damages are a cold compensation when your vertebrae are crushed and you are looking at a lifetime of pain management. In addition, since lawyers do not work on contingency, and some cases do not qualify for a state+paid advocate, many torts cases never reach a court of law. I had been a big supporter of tort reform in the USA until I saw what sorts of things businesses, employers and property owners got away with in Sweden without the threat of punitive damages.

Now my opinion is that a moderated amount of punitive damages are beneficial to society as whole.
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