Police offer new theory on cause of fatal pile-up

Police suspect that two stopped cars may have indirectly caused the massive pile-up that left one dead and dozens injured on an icy Swedish motorway last month.

Police offer new theory on cause of fatal pile-up

Both vehicles, which were stopped in the left northbound lane, disappeared from the scene before police arrived at the scene of the crash.

“They were what caused the first truck to put on the brakes and start skidding,” Arne Davidsson of the Skåne County police told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

While the vehicles’ owners aren’t suspected of any crimes, they are being sought by police as part of the ongoing investigation into the cause of the January 15th crash on the Tranarpsbron bridge, which left the E4 motorway closed in both directions near Helsingborg.

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Pictures from the scene of the crash

In addition, eleven truck drivers involved in the crash are under criminal suspicion for reckless driving as their vehicles were going between 70 and 90 km/hr, a speed deemed much too fast considering the thick fog and icy road conditions.

“That the trucks were driving so fast when 30 would have been the right speed must be seen as reckless driving,” said Davidsson.

Police theorize that the truck that began skidding when braking for the two parked cars could have likely stopped safely had it been travelling at a reduced speed.

The driver of another car involved in the pile-up, considered the biggest traffic accident in Swedish history, is also suspected of reckless driving as a result of information gathered from witnesses, Sydsvenskan reports.

One truck driver is also suspected of involuntary manslaughter as it was his trailer that ended up killing another truck driver from Lithuania who had left his vehicle to warn other drivers of the accident.

Of the 74 vehicles involved in the crash, 40 were trucks and of the twelve truck drivers facing criminal suspicions, five are Swedish.

Police continue efforts to make contact with all the suspected drivers and expect to take the case to prosecutors in a few more weeks.

The Local/dl

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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.