Rescue helicopter crashes – lighthouse blamed

A rescue helicopter crashed on Saturday night on its way to pick up a man complaining of heart pain on Häradskär in Gryts Archipelago. While the official cause of the crash has yet to be determined, Svenska Dagbladet reported that the crew blamed a lighthouse beacon.

“The lighthouse was obviously horribly irritating,” said one of the crew members. “Every time it shined [we] lost visual contact with land.”

At 11pm on Saturday the rescue centre lost radio contact with the helicopter on its way to Häradskär. The centre called the sick man who reported that he had heard the helicopter north of the island. The centre understood something had gone wrong and eight ships and four helicopters were called in to assist.

Emergency signals from the crewmen’s life vests ensured that all five of them were rescued after an hour’s wait in the water. Suffering only mild hypothermia and no serious injuries they were released from hospital after a few hours. The man with the heart problem was ferried by the rescue ship and driven to Gryt where an ambulance rushed him to a hospital in Norrköping. There’s no report of his condition.

Mats Öfverstedt, the chief investigator, confirmed the crew’s explanation in Tuesday’s Stockholm City: “The blinding light complicated circumstances upon landing.”

He added that a thorough technical investigation would take place before any conclusions were made. The Swedish Coastguard successfully retrieved the downed helicopter on Monday despite bad weather and tough conditions. The helicopter was upright and intact at a depth of 10 metres.

Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius


Risky makeovers for US cars sold in Sweden

Swedish road safety experts have warned that a new batch of damaged US cars has made its way to Sweden from Lithuania, with new paint jobs hiding potentially life-endangering mechanical flaws.

Risky makeovers for US cars sold in Sweden

As many as 61 percent of cars imported to Sweden from Lithuania last year had a claims history in the US, according a survey from Larmtjänst AB, a non-profit organization owned by industry organization Insurance Sweden (Försäkring Sverige).

“We discovered that American cars got a new identity in Lithuania, so we started the investigation,” Torbjörn Serrander, Larmtjänst investigator, told The Local.

The potentially faulty cars come not only from Lithuania. One in five of all cars imported to Sweden, regardless of the last port of call, has had claims taken out on them in the US.

From the US junkyard to Sweden, most of the cars are sent to Lithuania where the chassis is replaced. The vehicles end up looking sparkling new on the surface, but under the hood there can be critical damages, meaning unsafe products are being sold on the Swedish auto market.

Larmtjänst highlighted that a Swedish customer can look up whether a car has been deemed non road-worthy by a US insurer. If, however, the car has received minor damages and the previous owner chose to sell it on, the Swedish would-be buyer cannot access the information.

“Storm-damaged cars from Hurricane Sandy that suffered minor damages or water damage, and were not deemed totally wrecked, will, however, not show up if you make an information request,” Larmtjänst wrote on its website.

Larmtjänst warned Swedes looking for a second-hand car to look out for certain tell-tale signs.

“If the car is sold with only one key and no book (with vehicle details), don’t buy it,” John Erik Heed, Stockholm police investigator, told The Local.

“The airbag may not be there”

Last year, around 5,000 cars were imported from the US to Sweden and around 500 came from Lithuania to Sweden.

“Cars are put together in the wrong way so customers must check the car’s origins. If it has been exported from USA to Lithuania, the car is probably dangerous,” Heed said.

Elodie Pradet

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