Konginkangas bus disaster
Aerial view of the accident
|Date||March 19, 2004|
|Location||Konginkangas, Äänekoski, Finland|
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.
- Lähteenmäki, Esko et al. (2006) . A head-on collision involving a heavy vehicle combination and a charter coach on highway 4 at Konginkangas near the town of Äänekoski, Finland on 19.3.2004 (PDF). Investigation report A 1/2004 Y. trans. R&J Language Service (Abridged translation of the original Finnish report ed.). Helsinki: Accident Investigation Board Finland. ISBN 951-836-176-2. ISSN 1239-5315. OCLC 141380775. Retrieved July 18, 2007.
- Citec Information (2005). "Konginkangas 19.3.2004 klo 02:08 (animation)" (in Finnish). Accident Investigation Board Finland. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
- "At least 23 dead in bus crash in Central Finland". Helsingin Sanomat International Edition. March 19, 2004. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
- "Excessive speed and driver error seen as causes of collision killing 23 last year". Helsingin Sanomat International Edition. November 18, 2005. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
- "Suspended sentence for truck driver in Konginkangas disaster". Helsingin Sanomat International Edition. June 1, 2006. Retrieved May 27, 2007.