The accident occurred at 2.02 am on Saturday morning. The indie group Viola Beach, from the town Warrington in the north west of England, had played at the festival “Where’s the Music?” in Norrköping on Friday and are reported to have been on their way to Arlanda airport together with their manager.
A bridge opening on the European route E4 near the town of Södertälje was in progress to let the oil tanker Tellus through. The car with the young artists and their manager crashed through two sets of barriers on the bridge, ignoring both warning signs and lights.
“Drove like maniacs”
“The car pushed past the stationary cars, they were driving like maniacs. They went on the left-hand side next to the central barrier, doing at least 45-50 mph. That’s really fast to those of us standing still. They clipped the wing mirror off a taxi,” a witness says.
The vehicle plunged at least 25 meters down into the canal.
There are no skid marks on the bridge. At such a high speed it would all have been over within seconds.
Bridge operators saw nothing
There are no witnesses to the actual drop and circumstances surrounding the accident are still unclear.
Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reports that no one in the bridge control tower, where the bridge operators are located, saw the accident, and that the CCTV recording from the traffic control camera has been erased, something that happens automatically if no one requests them to be retained.
Tanker drove over the scene of the accident
The captain of the oil tanker Tellus and the Maritime Administration pilot who was on board the ship did see something fall from the bridge, however.
“The saw something that they thought was just snow. They were 700 meters away and it was dark. They didn’t discuss it any further but instead focussed on navigating under the bridge. It wasn’t until later when they heard about the accident that they started thinking that it might have been the falling car they saw,” Ulrika Ekström, spokesperson for the Swedish Maritime Administration says.
The tanker got the all-clear to proceed and unwittingly drove over the scene of the accident and the under-water car wreckage.
The police are investigating the accident which has also been reported to the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority.
Inspector Martin Bergholm of the Södertälje police said, “These are quite special circumstances where a car crashes through the barriers and into the canal, circumstances which, at least to me, seem inexplicable. Most people who are involved in the investigation find the circumstances pretty inexplicable.”