A military truck carrying conscripts drove in front of a railcar at a level crossing around 08:00 on Thursday morning in Raseborg (Raasepori), an hour’s drive away from Helsinki in southern Finland.
The collision killed three conscripts and one passenger on the railcar. Four conscripts were injured and one survived without physical damage. In total, eleven people were hurt: four were seriously injured and seven survived with mild injuries.
The railcar was traveling at a speed of about 100 kilometers per hour, and the driver had spotted the army truck just before it was about to pass the crossing. The truck was driving slowly. The driver of the railcar thought that the truck would stop. But it didn’t.
According to the Safety Investigation Authority, the level crossing is unprotected. The weather was bad. “It was snowing horizontally,” said Ilkka Kantola, the investigator in charge, at the press conference on Thursday afternoon. The all-terrain truck was participating in a military exercise of the Nyland Brigade and was on the way to a military training range in Hanko. The police are suspecting the driver of the army truck at least of endangering of traffic safety, negligent homicide and negligent injury.
The Safety Investigation Authority has decided to begin a thorough investigation into the tragedy to reduce similar accidents in the future. The investigation could take as much as eight months to complete.
In Finland, 120 people have died in level crossing accidents during the 2000s. The state-owned railroad network consists of 2,800 level crossings from which 2,100 are unprotected without automatic warning devices such as flashing lights, warning tones and gates.