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OFFBEAT

Cleaning lady steals train and crashes into house

Officials remain baffled as to why a cleaning lady commandeered a train in the upscale Stockholm suburb of Saltsjöbaden early Tuesday morning and crashed it into a house, where it remains while crews work out how to safely remove the wreckage.

Cleaning lady steals train and crashes into house

“The woman started driving the train from the Neglinge train station, which is two stops from Saltsjöbaden, and usually a three-minute ride,” SL spokesman Jesper Pettersson told The Local.

“The train usually goes at about 10 kilometres an hour in this area, but we estimate that she was going at about 70 kilometres per hour.”

When the train reached the final stop on the line at around 3am, it careened off the tracks and into the first-floor kitchen of one of the house’s three flats, causing severe damage.

No passengers were on the train at the time, but a woman was trapped in the wreckage for two hours before rescue crews managed to get her out.

“We still don’t know why she was in the driver’s seat or whether the incident was an accident. There’s a police investigation underway and we’re waiting for them for clarification.”

The cleaner, who is in her twenties, was flown by helicopter to the Karolinska University Hospital for treatment of what emergency workers described as “serious” injuries.

She has since been ordered detained on suspicion of public devastation (allmänfarlig ödeläggelse).

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: More images from the scene of the crash

According to the Expressen newspaper, there were five residents from three different families sleeping in the building at the time of the accident.

“It’s incredibly lucky that no one in the house was injured,” police spokesman Ulf Lindgren told the TT news agency.

“The head of the emergency services crew has ordered the house to be evacuated for safety reasons.”

As of 1.30pm, the derailed train was still inside the house, according to Pettersson, while emergency services determine how to remove it.

“It’s important to find out if the structure of the house can cope with the removal of the train, no one wants to risk the building’s integrity,” he told The Local.

A spokesman for subcontractor Arriva, which is responsible for operating the line, characterized the incident as a theft.

“It was a cleaner who for unknown reasons stole the train,” Arriva spokesman Tomas Hedenius told Aftonbladet.

“She was a cleaner. Somehow she managed to get in and steal one of the trains. We’re investigating how it could have happened.”

In the wake of the incident, local politicians have called upon SL to beef up security procedures.

“It shouldn’t be possible for unauthorized people to drive our trains,” Christer G Wennerholm, a Moderate member of the Stockholm County Council’s traffic committee, said in a statement.

Replacement buses are taking commuters between the Neglinge and Saltsjöbaden stops on the Saltsjöbanan train line, according to SL, although the rest of the line is functioning normally.

Jesper Pettersson at SL promised the incident will result in a “major review” of the company’s current security system.

TT/The Local/dl

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ACCIDENT

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.

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