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Two die after weekend skating accident

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10:22 CET+01:00
Two people have now died after a group of ice skaters fell through the ice of Mälaren, the lake stretching west from Stockholm, on Saturday.

A 31 year old man died shortly after the accident and then on Sunday morning a 26 year old man died at Karolinska University Hospital.

According to Södertälje police, a group of around 100 ice skaters were out on Mälaren, near Stallarholmen, when the ice gave way. Police said that 12 skaters ended up in the water.

The coast guard continued searching underwater on Sunday but said that everyone had been accounted for.

"It has been difficult to get a clear picture of what exactly happened," said police spokesman Björn Engström.

"Södertälje police want to get in touch with the people who were there when the accident occurred," he told TT.

Gunilla Mittelton, who leads skating tours for the health organisation Friskis & Svettis, arrived on the scene with her group around fifteen minutes after the other skaters had fallen through the ice.

A handful of people were still in the water and Mittelton's group helped with the rescue work.

"We were on our way past but someone called from the shore that there had been an accident and that they needed help," she said.

"It wasn't hysterical - everyone did their bit. But there was no coordination."

The fact that the ice was obviously thin made the rescue work harder, with skaters from Mittelton's group forced to crawl forward to reach those in the water.

Helicopters from Visby and Arlanda joined the rescue effort, winching people directly out of the water and taking seven people to Karolinska hospital in Solna. As well as the two men who died, a man in his fifties remained in intensive care.

According to Gunilla Mittelton, it is rare that such a large group of skaters goes through the ice at the same time.

"It's very uncommon," she said.

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