The cleaner, named only as Sara, explained in an interview with Sveriges Radio (SR) that her employer Arriva is to help in her preparations for the train driver education. The firm has also guaranteed her a lifetime employment in a bid to make amends for the fact that the while recovering from the effects of the crash, the 20-year-old had initially been blamed for having “stolen” the train.
Sara told SR that while she was racing along in the runaway train her thoughts turned to Mexican artist and feminist icon Frida Kahlo.
“It is going so fast, it is going in the wrong direction… I think shall I jump at the next station because it is at ground level. Then I think about something odd, about Frida Kahlo and her accident,” Sara told SR.
Frida Kahlo once said that she had suffered two bad accidents in her life. The first occurred when she was involved in a bus crash in Mexico City in September 1925. A handrail pierced her womb and left her unable to have children.
“So that thought entered my head – watch out for the handrails. That much I remember.”
The harrowing episode ended with the train demolishing the side of a building in the leafy Stockholm suburb of Saltsjöbaden and left Sara with a litany of serious injuries that have taken months to heal. During the time the 20-year-old was asleep in hospital the story had broken worldwide that she was the cleaner who had stolen the train and crashed it into a building.
Media as far afield as Australia and India had picked up the story, which had gained momentum after comments by representatives from transport operator SL and sub-contractor Arriva.
In the immediate aftermath to the accident, Arriva spokesman Tomas Hedenius initially accused the cleaner but later explained that safety breaches were at the source of the high-speed Hollywoodesque drama.
Sara told SR how she had pieced together the story after the fact with the help of media stories and information from friends and relatives. The final forensic report is yet to be completed and Sara explained that she was looking forward to finding out how the media story developed as it did.
“I am awaiting the investigation. That is what I am going to follow up now. Who will be held responsible, the details of what has in fact been said and how they could have concluded that I had stolen it.”
Sara concluded that she is looking forward to the future and how the accident has left her with a renewed faith in life.
“If I can survive that, I can survive anything,” she said.
Peter Vinthagen Simpson