Swedish teacher dies in Thailand

A Swedish teacher from Gävle in northern Sweden has died in a traffic accident on the holiday island of Koh Lanta in Thailand, according to a report in the Aftonbladet daily.

The 49-year-old Swede worked as a teacher on the popular island of Koh Lanta in Thailand and leaves three children.

The Swede was reported to be driving a motorcycle at the time when she collided with a large truck, dying immediately.

The Swedish priest from the nearby island of Phuket has joined the crisis group appointed by the Swedish embassy in Bangkok at the school where the woman worked.

Koh Lanta is a popular island with Swedish and other Scandinavian tourists. The island houses a semi-permanent Swedish population and features several schools offering tuition in Swedish.

Thailand ranks worst in the world for motorbike and moped casualties with more than 11,000 drivers of passengers dying per annum, according to official statistics.

Much of the blame for the high fatality rate is explained by the fact that only 47 percent wear helmets.

The Thai government designated 2010 as the year of the helmet in an attempt to meet UN road safety targets of fewer than 10 deaths per 100,000 people.

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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.