The driver of seven young people and a bus was hospitalized after a railway accident in Kaskinen, Ostrobothnia, on Tuesday morning. The accident happened shortly before eight in the morning at an unguarded level crossing that the local mayor said was known to be dangerous.
Police are investigating the accident as a serious threat to road safety.
According to preliminary police data, the bus did not stop at the stop sign as needed, but drove straight to the level crossing. Both bus and locomotive drivers took breathalyzer tests that did not show blood alcohol content.
According to health authorities, none of the injuries were life-threatening, but the condition of two patients is serious.
The bus took students to high schools in Kristinestad (Kristiinankaupunki), another city on the west coast about 25 km south.
The track maintenance vehicle consisted of a locomotive and one wagon. The locomotive derailed when the bus was pushed about 30 meters along the track.
According to rescue authorities, 12 people were involved in the accident. All eight people on the bus were hospitalized.
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According to the director of emergency services Joacim Tuurithe injured had fractures and other minor injuries, including neck and chest ulcers.
One injured was transported to Tampere, four to Vaasa and three to a health center in the nearby town of Närpes.
"Eight of the injured patients are seven minors and a bus driver. At the moment, no one is threatened with death," Tuuri said.
The safety authority will open an investigation
The locomotive that collided with the bus weighs more than 30 tons. The aftermath scans the track and measures its width among other tasks.
Police and rescue officials said the crawler was moving slowly as it hit the center of the school bus and derailed.
The Safety Investigation Board is conducting a preliminary investigation into the accident. Two officials were on their way to Kaskinen to investigate the scene of the accident.
The clearing of the accident site will not begin until the documentation and the on-site investigation have been completed.
Crisis counseling available
The municipality of Kaskinen has opened a crisis center at the local health center, which offers counseling to those who need it. Schools also provide guidance for students.
According to the mayor Minna Nikander, the whole city was shocked by the accident. He noted that there are several unguarded level crossings in the center of Kaskinen, where accidents and injuries have occurred in the past. The scene of the accident on Tuesday was known to be a dangerous place, he said.
Nikander said the municipality has worked with the Traffic Safety Council (Traffic Safety) and the road maintenance company Destia to improve their safety.
1:58 PM Updated 2 seriously injured.
15:57 Updated for possible criminal charges and other details.
Source: The Nordic Page