Victims in Denmark Great Belt Bridge rail accident identified

Danish police said on Friday they had identified the eight victims killed in a train accident on the Great Belt Bridge earlier this week.

Victims in Denmark Great Belt Bridge rail accident identified
The crashed DSB train on the Great Belt Bridge on January 2nd. Photo: Tim K. Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

All of the victims were Danes ranging in age from 27 to 60.

The three men and five women were not related to each other and hail from different regions of the country, a police statement said, adding that all of the victims’ next of kin had been informed of their identities.

People who lost their lives in the accident include a 28-year-old woman from eastern Funen, a 51-year-old man from northern Funen, a 30-year-old man from Aarhus, a 45-year-old woman from Odense, a 60-year-old woman from Odense, a 27-year-old woman from central Funen, a 59-year-old woman from Greater Copenhagen and a 30-year-old man from Greenland, Funen Police said in a written statement.

The accident occurred in strong winds early on Wednesday, when a truck trailer appeared to blow off a cargo train carrying empty beer trailers, crates and bottles.

The trailer hit a DSB passenger train travelling in the opposite direction on the Great Belt Fixed Link between the islands of Zealand, where Copenhagen is located, and Funen.

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

Investigators have yet to determine how and why the truck trailer came loose from the cargo train.

The Danish Maritime Investigation Board (Havarikommissionen, DMIB) has primary responsibility for investigation of the accident, Funen Police wrote in the statement. Police will provide assistance in the investigation where necessary.

“After this (investigation) work is completed, Funen Police will assess whether conditions are present for legal proceedings. Funen Police can therefore not give any further detail as to the investigation of the rail accident until the results of the Maritime Board investigation are known and have been fully assessed,” the statement read.

Investigation of the accident may take a considerable amount of time, DMIB investigator Bo Haaning told broadcaster DR on Thursday.

“We are embarking on a large puzzle which could take days, weeks and months to complete. We must gather all the possible relevant information in order to prevent such a terrible accident from happening again,” Haaning said.

The investigation will focus on safety-related issues with a view to making recommendations on improved safety, the investigator said.

“This is everything from what the existing rules are and whether they were complied with to the accounts given by staff, the role played by the wind and technical investigations. All the information and knowledge relevant to what happened. The primary goal is to find the reasons for this happening,” Haaning, who is the DMIB deputy director, told DR.

DB Cargo, the operator of the freight train, said that it had suspended services of the type of train involved in the accident.

“We will not operate the so-called beer trains for the time being. We are in the process of investigating what happened. When we feel sure that we can resume safe operations, we will do so,” DB Cargo head of communications Jan Wildau said.

National rail operator DSB tweeted its condolences and held a minutes’ silence for staff on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Train traffic resumes on Great Belt Bridge after fatal accident


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.

READ ALSO: New laws: Here's what changes in Denmark in 2020