ROSENBURG, Finland – A train collided with a military vehicle at an unguarded railroad crossing in southern Finland early Thursday, killing four people and injuring 11 others, officials said.
The crash happened near Raseborg, about 85 kilometres (53 miles) southwest of Helsinki. The fatalities were three soldiers and one passenger.
Kerava emergency services announced shortly before 8 am that a crash had occurred at a level crossing, where a railway line crosses a road.
Railway traffic monitor Reima Roisko has been in contact with the driver of the train and learned that the accident took place at the Leksavallintie intersection.
“A passenger train from Karis to Hanko collided with a vehicle at the level crossing. There were several people injured,” he said.
Police confirm that the vehicle was a military off-road lorry known in Finnish as a Masi. The vehicle and its occupants were from the Nyland Brigade, stationed in Dragsvik. It is the only unit of the Finnish Defence Forces where the instruction language is Swedish.
Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö spoke in a Yle radio interview at around 11 am. He said seatbelt use has been mandatory in the Finnish military since 2010. He confirmed that the conscripts in question were from the Nyland Brigade, and crisis assistance was being offered to the people affected.
Minister Niinistö also wrote on Twitter this morning that flags at Defence Forces locations around the country will be lowered to half-mast today to commemorate the crash victims. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä also tweeted his condolences.
The Railway Traffic Centre says the route has been shut down for the time being, with buses replacing the trains. Train operator VR says that the replacement buses will depart from the relevant railway stations, and will service the Karis-Ekenäs-Hanko route.
Source: YLE, Reuters