Foto: TT

Flashback 2016: Viola Beach killed in car crash


In mid-February 2016 the E4 highway bridge in the Swedish town of Södertälje became known outside the borough – far beyond the borders of the country. ”It was an awful tragedy”, says BBC reporter Judtih Moritz.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on 13 February 2016 a car drove through the barriers at the E4 highway bridge and plunged into the Södertälje Canal.

It soon became clear that it was the British rock group Viola Beach and their manager that were in the car.

Their first performance abroad

They were on their way from a music festival in Norrköping where they had played in their first ever performance abroad; they were to have spent the night at a hotel near Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, as they were booked on a flight home the following day.

But their journey came to an end in Södertälje Canal. All five men died in the crash.

Crashed through barriers

The investigation showed that the car had been travelling at about 55 mph [90 km/h] and that it got onto the central reservation and crashed though two sets of barriers, before driving off the opened bridge.

The police and the media took turns in presenting fresh facts about the strange accident; the Södertälje highway bridge featured in international press and TV news coverage over a considerable time.

”A big story straight away”

It's now December; ten months have elapsed since the fatal accident and Swedish Television, SVT, call Judith Moritz at the BBC; she is one of the reporters to have followed the story very closely.

”It was a story which was treated as a big story straight away. The band were not well-known but they were becoming well-known, up-and coming as we would say, so they were tipped to become very successful.”

When British nationals die there is always an inquest, conducted by a coroner; this case was no exception. A week or two ago, the coroner presented his findings in a final statement, made orally.

The accident – a mystery

It was confirmed that there were no faults in the road, nor in the bridge, nor in the rented car the group were using, and that the driver had neither been drinking nor using drugs. This means that the biggest question remains unanswered, especially for next of kin.

”The main question of what happened; why he was able to through two barriers and into the canal that is still a mystery,” says BBC correspondent Judith Moritz.

The music lives on

Following the death of the rock group members and their manager, a campaign was launched to spread their music. Viola Beach, posthumously, has reached top positions in the UK charts.

”Th accident was reported very widely. And that is one of the reasons why the bands music then went up to go up the charts”, says Judith Moritz.

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