Family dies on day of snowmobile tragedies

Three people died and two are missing after several serious snowmobile accidents on Sunday.

A 49 year old man, a 43 year old woman and a 6 year old girl were travelling on a snowmobile on the ice between Spillersboda and West Stomnarö in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday morning. They were reported missing at around 4pm.

A major rescue effort, with helicopters, sea planes and divers, eventually discovered a hole in the ice with tracks leading up to it.

“There were no tracks coming away from the hole,” said Adam Waxberg at the Sea Rescue Society to TT.

The girl was found dead in the water but by Monday lunchtime the parents’ bodies had still not been recovered. Police say that there is no hope of finding them alive.

Just after midnight on Saturday a 40 year old man died in a snowmobile accident outside Björna, north of Örnsköldsvik. Police say that there were more scooters involved in the accident but did not give any further details.

And at lunchtime on Sunday police were alerted to a snowmobile accident near Valbo, between Gävle and Sandviken. A person out walking found a 43 year old man dead in a field with the snowmobile nearby.

It is still unclear how the accident happened.

Peter Wikström at the Swedish Motorcycle and Snowmobile Association pointed out that despite the multiple tragedies on Sunday, fatal accidents are rare on snowmobiles.

“In the last 25 years the average is about 6.5 deaths per year,” he said.

Wikström said that great emphasis is placed on proper driving instruction, but there is a loophole in the legislation.

Since 1st January 2000, snowmobile drivers must take a test and obtain a certificate. But anyone with a normal driver’s licence from before that date has the right to drive a snowmobile.

TT/The Local