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Tourist dies in freak dog sled accident

TT/Rebecca Martin · 20 Dec 2011, 09:53

Published: 20 Dec 2011 09:53 GMT+01:00

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“The car and the dog sled crashed into each other,” confirmed police officer Uno Nilsson to local paper Norrländska Socialdemokraten (NSD).

Police received a call that an accident had occurred in the late-afternoon darkness at a designated dog sled crossing on the road to the Esrange Space Centre, outside of Jukkasjärvi.

Five people were in the sled when it collided with a car at the crossing, causing it to veer straight in the ditch. The driver, having tried to avoid a crash, went the same way, and as the car overturned it fell on top of the sled, trapping two of the passengers underneath.

The injured passengers were taken to a local hospital and the first reports stated that two were seriously hurt while three had sustained minor injuries.

Later, local authorities issued a statement saying that one man had died from the accident and that a woman had been moved to the Umeå hospital for further treatment due to the serious nature of her injuries.

The driver of the car is reportedly in shock after the incident, according to NSD.

Four of the passengers in the sled were tourists and the fifth was a guide. Two of the tourists were guests at the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjårvi, while the other two stayed at nearby hotel Scandic Ferrum.

Story continues below…

Police were busy on Monday evening verifying the identities of those involved in the accident and contacting their relatives.

The dogs pulling the sleigh were reportedly unscathed in the incident.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:06 December 20, 2011 by byke
Do dog sleds need to have lights on when using public roads?

Come to think about it, at what safety points do a dog sled need to conform to in regards to using roads? Cars have MOT, bicycles need working lights at night time along with breaks, reflectors etc ....
11:48 December 20, 2011 by Frobobbles
It was NOT a freak accident. One person has died earlier at the very same place. It is a crossing for dog sleds, and the dog sled is obliged to stop for traffic.
12:06 December 20, 2011 by spo10
Just terrible news. The guide, who I assumed was responsible for maneuvering the sled must have underestimated the approaching car.
14:06 December 20, 2011 by rise
@ Frobobbles

No, it's the other way around: the cars have to stop and let the dog sled pass the road! It isn't easy to make a dog sled at full speed stop just like that. But too few drivers knows they actually have to let the dog sled over before continuing. :(

If they'd built a tunnel under the road this new accident would never had happened.
14:27 December 20, 2011 by Osk
Ban dog sledding its too dangerous
16:11 December 20, 2011 by rise
In this case, according to a local newspaper up here, both the car and the dog sled actually HAD stopped. So, since the car had stopped the dog sled began to speed up to cross the road and at the same time a second car was beginning to drive past the first car! A crash was unavoidable.

There are warning signs as well as a limit of speed before coming to those crossings. This didn't help the passengers though, two American and two British people. The deceased a 70 year old of the American pair. I hope they now build that tunnel so this wasn't completely in vain!
20:41 December 20, 2011 by Frobobbles
"rise". Nope.

"Föraren, som hade stopplikt, stannade och väntade in en bil som körde förbi. " = the driver [of the sled] had the duty to stop. The driver stopped, waited and let a car pass. At least that is what is says here:

22:43 December 20, 2011 by Willy
Frobobbles, from the press reports (NSD and Norrbottenskuriren), I agree with your interpretation. The driver of the sled stopped for the first car, which passed. He then got going again and a second car ran into the sled.
03:10 December 21, 2011 by Molly1987
I don't know how this could have happened but I know the American couple. My son

is the boyfriend of one of their daughters. Remember, these girls lost their father and nearly lost their mother as well. He is not just an "american tourist." He was

two wonderful girls father.
17:19 December 21, 2011 by rise
Frobobbles, yes you're right. I've spoken with my brother-in-law who's working as such a guide. And I was wrong.

Molly1987, I truly know what you're saying cause I have lost both a girlfriend and a childhood friend in a car accident 1996. I know how the close ones now must be feeling, and it is feelings you don't even wish for your worst enemy! You have my sympathies.
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