Konginkangas bus disaster

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Konginkangas bus disaster
Aerial view of the accident
Date March 19, 2004 (2004-march-19)
Location Konginkangas, Äänekoski, Finland
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Deaths 23
Non-fatal injuries 14

The Konginkangas bus disaster was a major traffic accident on March 19, 2004, outside the Konginkangas village in Äänekoski, Finland. At 02:08 local time (00:08 UTC) a bus transporting 38 passengers, most of them youths, to the Rukatunturi skiing center for an alpine skiing vacation crashed into a full-trailer truck carrying heavy paper rolls weighing about 61.5 tonnes (60.5 long tons; 67.8 short tons) total. The accident occurred on highway 4 (E75) 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Äänekoski, and left the bus driver and 23 passengers dead; 14 were injured. The executive director of the youth travel company was among those who perished in the accident. Most of the victims were sleeping at the time and were immediately killed by the paper rolls ejected into the bus. The truck driver was left unharmed.

Sequence of events

The accident was investigated by the Accident Investigation Board Finland. The accident occurred when the trailer of the southbound 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 truck and its trailer. The trailer continued its slide across the icy pavement and into the oncoming lane until the hinge locked at a ninety-degree angle with the pulling truck. The northbound bus had no way of escaping, as this happened at the moment of passing. Five 780-kilogram (1,720 lb) paper rolls were ejected through the side of the trailer into the bus as it hit the trailer at a speed of 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph). The winter speed limit on the road was 80 km/h (50 mph). The front of the bus, as well as several seat rows, were demolished on impact.


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Further reading