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Taxi driver loses roof in rescue

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16:50 CET+01:00
A taxi operator had one less car in his fleet on Tuesday after rescue services mistakenly cut the roof off a Mercedes Benz E 270.

One of Hans Lantto's drivers was out on a job near Rosvik in northern Sweden when he came across an accident. A bus had collided with a car, leaving two people injured. The driver stopped to see if he could help, newspaper NSD reports.

With temperatures down to a perishing -25 degrees Celsius, the two injured parties walked over to the car and asked if they could take shelter inside.

"Being a nice guy he let them sit there. One of them was shaking like a leaf," Lantto told NSD.

Together they waited for emergency services to arrive.

Soon Hans Lantto received a call from the driver. He has been in a state of shock ever since.

The driver explained that emergency services had begun arriving in numbers. They asked where they could find the two people who had been injured.

He pointed them in the direction of the car and a decision was quickly taken to slice the roof off.

Fearing for Lantto's taxi, the driver informed the rescue workers that the pair were just taking shelter and had in fact been injured while travelling in another vehicle.

But a decision had been taken and there was nothing the incredulous driver could do to stop it. Rather than ask whether the victims were in a fit state to get out of the car, emergency services proceeded with operation roof removal.

"I don't know who took the decision, whether it was medical staff or rescue services," said Lantto.

His next problem is to convince his insurance company that he is not making it up.

"They said it wasn't possible," said Lantto, who is determined not to pay for any damage.

Rescue services in Piteå have said that the decision was correct, having been taken after consultation between rescue staff and medical personnel.

Per Isaksson, who led the rescue operation, stands by the decision.

"One of the people complained of neck and back pains. His arms and legs were numb," he told Expressen.

Isaksson added that he has never before had to destroy a car that was not involved in an accident.

"But for me it is crystal clear that we should cut open a car rather than risk a couple of human lives," said Isaksson.

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