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Bus Crash: 22 Killed
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The Äänekoski bus disaster was a major traffic accident on March 19 2004 outside the Konginkangas housing estate in Äänekoski, Finland. At 02:08 local time (00:08 UTC) a bus transporting 38 passengers, most of them youths, to Ruka skiing centre for an alpine skiing vacation crashed into a tractor trailer carrying heavy paper rolls weighing about 38 tonnes total, 20 km north of Äänekoski. The accident happened on highway 4 E75, and left the bus driver and 22 passengers dead. In addition, 15 passengers were injured. The tractor trailer driver was unharmed. The executive director of the youth travel company also died in the accident. Most of the victims were sleeping and died immediately when they were hit by the paper rolls that ejected into the bus.
The accident happened when the southbound trailer of the truck began a soft swerving movement on black ice which intermittently covered the highway at its sloughs and troughs. The trailer first swerved to the right; to correct this the driver counter-steered the vehicle. This led to a loss of control of both the pulling tractor-truck and its trailer. The trailer continued its movement across the icy pavement on the highway until it locked in a ninety-degree angle with the pulling tractor-truck. The northbound bus had no way of escape as this happened at the moment of passing. Five 780 kg paper rolls were ejected through the side of the trailer into the bus. The front of the bus was demolished on impact, as well as several seat rows.
Editors Note: See Same Accident Submitted in March 2004 with Two Different Pictures. Thank you to all submitters.
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