Swedish Television News reports that the captain of the ship Tellus was waiting for permission to pass under the open bridge when he saw the car fall some 25 meters into the water. At the time, the vessel thought it was a mass of snow falling down from the bridge.
The ship was given the green light by the Swedish Maritime Administration to travel under the bridge and sailed right over the car.
The four members of the band Viola Beach as well as their manager died after their rental car drove through a barrier stopping traffic before the bridge and then plunged into the canal. Police have confirmed the bridge's warning lights and barriers were working properly at the time of the wreck.
Tellus was given the green light to go ahead because the accident had not yet been reported and that staff from the Maritime agency didn't see the car drive off the bridge.
When asked by Swedish Television News why no one noticed that a car had headed through the gap in the bridge, the agency's communications director Ulrika Ekström said, "in that situation, we focus on making sure that the boat can pass under the bridge safely."