Death toll rises to eight in Danish Great Belt Bridge train accident

The death toll from a train accident on Denmark’s Great Belt Fixed Link has risen from six to eight, police said early on Thursday.

Death toll rises to eight in Danish Great Belt Bridge train accident
The train wreckage on the Great Belt Bridge on Wednesday, January 2nd. Photo: Tim K. Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

Six people were on Wednesday reported to have lost their lives when a truck trailer appeared to blow off a cargo train in strong winds and hit a passenger train travelling eastwards on the box-girder bridge section of the fixed link between the islands of Zealand, where Copenhagen is located, and Funen.

That figure has now been increased to eight, police said.

“Our investigations during the night have unfortunately shown that a further two people were killed on the train in relation to what we were able to verify yesterday,” chief of Funen Police Arne Gram said in a statement given to media on Thursday morning.

Five women and three men were killed in the accident, which occurred just after 7:30am on Wednesday. There were no children amongst the dead, Funen Police chief superintendent Lars Bræmhøj confirmed.

Sixteen others were hurt, but none of them suffered life-threatening injuries.

Investigators said on Wednesday the passenger train appeared to have struck an empty truck trailer that had blown off a cargo train travelling in the opposite direction on a different track.

Debris could be seen lying across the front of the passenger train.

Investigators said they did not yet know why or how the trailer fell off.

READ ALSO: Great Belt Bridge rail accident caused by collision with objects from freight train: police


Car drivers overcharged for crossing Denmark’s Great Belt Bridge

Drivers of small cars may have overpaid in tolls when crossing the Great Belt Bridge. The bridge's toll operator has urged customers to check billing information.

Car drivers overcharged for crossing Denmark's Great Belt Bridge
Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Operating company Sund & Bælt has encouraged customers to get in touch if they have paid too much to cross the bridge, which connects Zealand with Funen.

The problem, first reported by Fyens Stiftstidende, stems from number plate recognition or used of the BroBizz payment tag.

Payment equipment has in some cases incorrectly registered the size of some vehicles using these payment forms.

The issue first began occurring in December following the replacement of parts in the toll booths.

“We started in September and were finished close to a week before Christmas, changing the entire motor in the payment machine,” operations manager Palle Nygaard told Fyens.

“So there have clearly been a few teething problems, and one of those is that we not have classified (vehicles) quite as well as usual,” he added.

The exact number of incorrect classifications was unclear, but “a couple of percent each day out of 35,000 ends up being a fair few”, Nygaard said.

The Sund & Bælt operations manager told DR that “particularly, customers with very small cars have been charged a higher price than they are used to”.

A single journey in a private car of up to 3 metres in length should cost a toll of 130 kroner, while the toll for a car of 3-6 metres’ length is 245 kroner.

Customers who think they may have been overcharged can check the invoices or receipts they receive, for example via email for BroBizz users.

These will show the category for which tolls were charged.

“You should contact customer service (for a refund) if you find you have paid a different amount than you are used to,” Nygaard told DR.

“If you pay by card (at the bridge) and see that the price is wrong, you can press ‘help’ and get the problem fixed,” he added.

The company expects to fix the issue during the first quarter of 2020.

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