Workers checking out the broken traffic boom that the car drove through.
Workers checking out the broken traffic boom that the car drove through. Credit: Johan Nilsson / TT.

No information from "black box" in Viola Beach crash

Important information from the "black box" of the car carrying the British band Viola Beach and their manager to their death in a Södertälje canal cannot be extracted, an accident report concludes.

There are still many questions surrounding the accident in the middle of February, when a rental car went through a gap in a open draw bridge outside Södertälje, south of Stockholm.

But the answers will not come from the black box, as it has not been possible to extract any information from there. According to a report from the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority, this could be due to the damages to the car and the fact that the car has been in freezing water.

On Tuesday, the authority concluded that they will not investigate the accident further, as they do not deem anything will come out of it that will benefit the security around the bridge.

"Signals and barriers by the motorway bridge, have in all essential, worked as they should by the incident. Despite that, the car has passed the queue of cars standing still, the warning signs, the flashing lights and through the lowered barriers," the agency notes in a ten page-report.

From CCTV-footage, the investigators could see that the driver did brake briefly before the accident. The brake-lights came on and the car slowed before moving to overtake the queue of cars waiting in front of the warning lights and barriers lowered across the road

The agency notes that it is hard to know exactly how fast the car was driving, but that the driving appeared "controlled". One anomaly is noted, and that is a torn brake line that was found close to one of the front wheels of the car. But as that does not correspond to other damages to the car, it is believed that it was torn when the car was raised from the canal after the accident.

The Accident Investigation Authority will only carry out further investigations if it is judged that there is a need to increase security to prevent future accidents. But that is not deemed to be necessary in this case. The Swedish Transport Agency has already proposed more warning signals to ensure that drivers slow down sooner. According to the local newspaper Länstidningen, there are also proposals that, in the future, it could be possible to measure the speed with which cars are driving, in order to be alerted to situations when the barriers may be smashed.

Meanwhile, the police investigation continues. Earlier this week, the tabloid Expressen reported that the police investigators are hoping to question the taxi driver who has stopped at the barrier across the road and whose sideview mirror was smashed by the band's car as it drove past. The autopsy shows that the driver's body did not show any unusual levels of alcohol or drugs.

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