Police identify bus crash dead

Swedish police have started the difficult job of identifying those who died in a bus accident near Arboga, central Sweden, on Friday, as the death toll rose to nine.

“We have not found any form of ID on a number of the dead. Some of them are possibly relatives of seriously injured passengers who we have not yet been able to talk with,” said police spokesman Ulf Palm.

At least three of those killed were from the Falköping area, the local council announced on its website. Swedish Radio in Skaraborg said that two came from the Mariestad area and one from Gullspång, all towns in the Skaraborg region, some 150km to the north-east of Gothenburg.

Palm said he didn’t want to speculate over how long it would take for all the victims to be identified, and pointed to another serious bus crash in Ängelsberg in 2003.

“Then it too two days before we had a list of the six people who had died. This time there are nine.”

Another 26 passengers sustained serious injuries in the crash. Most were taken to Örebro hospital, while others went to Eskilstuna and Västerås.

Mats Björeman, doctor at Örebro hospital, says none of the 14 people being cared for there have life-threatening injuries, although six people are still in intensive care.

“Some have fractures in their arms, ribs, necks and collarbones. Others have been injured by being crushed, and some have lung injuries under their injured ribs,” Björeman said.

None of the other hospitals has reported any life-threatening injuries.

Churches and other places in the Skaraborg area opened on Saturday to provide support to those affected by the accident.

In Falköping, St Olof’s Church reported a steady stream of visitors since it opened at lunchtime.

“We’re here if people want to talk, or if someone wants to light a candle. But many people just want somewhere to collect their thoughts,” said local vicar Jonas Hagström to TT.

Marieholm church in Mariestad will also be open all afternoon, and in Gullspång the parish offices will be open all day.

The accident happened at Friday lunchtime, when the bus slid off the E18/E20 highway, rolled over and landed on its roof 25 metres from the road. The roof was crushed and around 20 people were trapped when the emergency services arrived.

Police were undertaking a technical examination of the bus on Saturday, and the Swedish Accident Investigation Board is also carrying out an investigation.

Police say that they do not currently suspect anyone of any criminal offence.

TT/The Local