Bus crash caused by brake failure: driver

The driver of a bus that drove into a crowd of people on a busy pedestrian square on Saturday has told police that the brakes failed as she attempted to bring the vehicle to a halt.

Bus crash caused by brake failure: driver

“It was her view that the bus lurched forward, and when she tried to stop it the brakes didn’t work at all,” said Maria Eklund at Södermalm police station.

Six people were injured on Saturday when the 15-year-old bus, which had been taken in for repairs earlier in the week, veered off the road and into a square at Slussen in central Stockholm.

The driver lost control of the number 55 bus bound for Sofia as she attempted to pull in at a bus stop. Instead the vehicle rolled down a set of steps and into a crowd of pedestrians at the busy Södermalmstorg square.

”We have lots of witnesses and many of them are very shocked by what they saw,” said police inspector Stefan Färdigs.

One man was seriously injured when the bus careered into the crowded square. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. Five others, including a 17-month-old-child, were treated for minor injuries. The child’s stroller was crushed by the vehicle before the bus came to a halt at the steps leading to the Stockholm City Museum.

A reporter for news agency TT said the square “resembled a war zone” immediately after the accident.

Stockholm’s streets were crowded at the time as people thronged to catch sight of the runners in Saturday’s Stockholm marathon.

Tests showed that the driver was not under the influence of alcohol.

“The bus driver is in shock and was taken to hospital but does not have any physical injuries. She has been driving with us for more than ten years,” said Martin Hägglund at Keolis Sverige, a transport company that operates services for the Stockholm public transport system.

Hägglund said the bus had been in for repairs three days earlier due to a faulty brake pedal.

“But it’s hard to see that there might be a connection with this accident. Buses are regularly taken in for repairs.”

The 15-year-old Scania bus was inspected and serviced in mid-April. It was scheduled to be taken out of service later this year since 15 years is the upper age limit for buses plying routes in the Stockholm region.

Bengt Bryungs, chair of the transport section at the Swedish Municipal Workers Union (Kommunal), praised Keolis’ track record and said the age of the bus should not matter unduly if the vehicle was well maintained.

“They have a very good service level and a high level of safety. My impression is that they maintain a good standard,” said Bryungs.

A second driver who operated the bus earlier in the day said there had been no problems with the vehicle.

Stockholm police have indicated that they will conduct a full examination of the vehicle and question the driver as they investigate the cause of the accident.

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Hundreds of 17th century cannonballs unearthed in Stockholm

Archaeologists digging in Stockholm's Slussen area have stumbled on a unique find that has left them scratching their heads: hundreds of cannonballs from the 17th century. But who left them there and why?

Hundreds of 17th century cannonballs unearthed in Stockholm
The area where the cannonballs were found. Photo: Arkeologikonsult

A proposal to redevelop Stockholm's Slussen junction was approved in 2013, and since then archaeologists have been excavating the area as the construction work continues. It is the largest such excavation in Sweden and tells the story of a time when the area was the hub of Stockholm's iron trade.

Last month they uncovered more than 200 cannonballs in what used to be a moat.

“This is a unique find. I don't know, off the top of my head, of any other place in Sweden where so many cannonballs have been found in one place and there has definitely not been a similar find in Stockholm before,” Michel Carlsson, archaeologist at Arkeologikonsult, told The Local on Tuesday.

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Some of the cannonballs found in November. Photo: Arkeologikonsult

They believe the cannonballs were dumped on the site intentionally, either during the demilitarization of Slussen's fortifications in the early 17th century (when the military defences moved as the city grew) or when the city's facilities for weighing iron were moved to the site from the Old Town in the 1660s.

“One question we are considering and have not yet found the answer to is why the cannonballs were not saved – if nothing else than for the sake of the metal value,” said Carlsson.

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More than 200 cannonballs have so far been found. Photo: Arkeologikonsult

The cannonballs that have so far been found vary in size and originally weighed around 0.85 to 8.5 kilo. Grenades, hand grenades and parts of at least seven cannon were also found on the site in November.

In the 1640s Sweden exported around 11,000 tonnes of wrought iron annually, increasing to 40,000 tonnes in the 1740s. Other finds last month include shards of German ceramics from the 14th century, remains of a well-known arch bridge built in the mid 18th-century and more wrought iron objects. 

One of the cannons found on the site. Photo: Arkeologikonsult

Exciting finds in central Stockholm are nothing new. During previous digging work at Slussen archaeologists have found a 16th century kitchen complete with tobacco pipes, coins, Viking era pearls, and much more. 

Construction work at Slussen is expected to be finished in 2025. The existing junction was built in 1935, but there have been various locks on the site since the 1600s, raising and lowering the water level to help transport boats between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea. The word sluss means 'lock' in Swedish.

READ ALSO: Swedish king's 'forgotten' warship found in central Stockholm

Remains of an arch bridge that used to run east of the locks in the mid-18th century. Photo: Arkeologikonsult