Worker dead after fall into vat of hot lye

A 66-year-old Swedish man died in an accident at a paper factory in western Sweden after falling into a cistern filled with hot lye late Tuesday night.

“He basically fell through the roof of the silo,” Ulf Maxén manager of the Munksjö Paper factory in Billingsfors where the accident took place, told The Local.

“The liquid was corrosive and was heated to somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius.”

The accident occurred shortly before midnight on Tuesday, according to Maxén, although the exact circumstances remain unclear.

“Some people in the area couldn’t find him and then they heard him and were able to figure out where he was,” he said.

“As to exactly what he was doing on the roof of the silo, I can’t speculate. That’s for the investigation to reveal.”

The man is believed to have fallen about 8 metres into the cistern,which contained a corrosive liquid used in the paper manufacturing process.

Emergency crews and colleagues spent the night working to gain access to and empty the vat and were finally able to recover the man’s body around 7am on Wednesday morning.

Shortly thereafter factory officials decided to shut down production at the plant.

“There’s a feeling of incredible sorrow here today,” said Maxén, adding that the man had worked at the factory for more than 20 years.

“We’re a small community here. A lot of people knew him.”

Police as well as officials from Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) have launched an investigation into the accident.

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Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port

UPDATE: A ferry that ran aground next to islands between Finland and Sweden with nearly 430 crew and passengers on board, was refloated and heading for port, its owners said Sunday.

Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port
The Viking Line ship Grace hit rocks in in the Aland archipelago. Photo AFP

The Viking Line's “Grace” hit rocks on Saturday afternoon while sailing between the Finnish port of Turku and the Swedish capital Stockholm, shortly before a stopover in Mariehamn, in the Aland archipelago, Finland's coast guard said.

The passengers had to spend the night on board, though there was no immediate danger as it was not taking on water. No one was hurt in the incident.

A tug boat helped refloat the ferry in the small hours of Sunday morning, the coast guard said on Twitter.

After disembarking around 260 passengers at Mariehamn, it went on to its home port of Turku in Finland, a Viking Line spokeswoman told AFP Sunday. It would undergo repairs in the coming days, she added.

Although the cause of the accident has yet to be established, the coast guard said there were strong winds in the area at the time.

The company cancelled its Saturday ferry service, which was to have been taken by a smaller vessel, because of a storm warning.

In September, another Viking Line ferry, the Amorella, ran aground on the same Aaland Island and the passengers had to be evacuated.