British band Viola Beach killed in car crash in Sweden

Viola Beach
Photo by: Emilia Castle.

Five Britons, believed to be members of the band Viola Beach, have died when their car plunged through the barrier of an open bridge into a canal in the Sodertalje area of Stockholm on Saturday. 

Local police said divers recovered the bodies of the victims – aged between 20 and 35 – after the vehicle plunged more than 25m (82ft) through a gap in the bridge, which had opened to let a boat pass underneath.

The fifth person in the car is said to be Manager of the four-piece band, Craig Tarry.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that five British nationals died in a car accident in Sweden on February 13.

“We are in contact with local authorities and supporting the families at this very difficult time.”

The bridge, at the Saltskogs junction between the E4 and the E20 motorways, has a middle section that rises directly upwards without tilting, leaving a gap that the Nissan Qashqai drove into, Swedish police said.

“A barrier, 50m before the opening, has flashing lights and signs warning there is a bridge opening,” the officer handling the case said.

Inspector Martin Bergholm said: “For some reason, the car drove through the barriers and crashed down into the canal.”

Drivers of other cars were waiting behind the barrier but it is not yet known whether a boat had already passed or was waiting to pass.

Mr Bergholm added: “The witnesses just saw a car beside them and kind of disappear.”

He said it was not yet known whether the men were wearing seatbelts but added: “That would not have helped them.”

Police received a call at about 2.30am and were first to arrive on the scene, a “maximum five minutes” later.

Mr Bergholm said: “Police arrived first, then the fire brigade who came with fire brigade divers at the scene and found the car and three bodies.

“We didn’t know how many people there were in the car but we found out there were five. Later on, about an hour later, the police divers came and found two more bodies.”

The men were identified using the passports they had on them and Swedish police are working with the Foreign Office global response centre.

He said the case would be transferred to a specialist traffic incident team on Monday. Dates for the post-mortem examination have not yet been confirmed.

British band The Enemy wrote on social media: “RIP Viola Beach and their manager. Such incredibly tragic and sad news. Thought with the friends and families of all involved x.”

The up-and-coming band were on tour and due to play a string of dates at venues across the UK. They were scheduled to play at the Boiler Room in Guildford on Saturday but the gig was cancelled.

Mr Tarry was described as a “man of unshakable (sic) optimism” and a passionate Manchester City football club fan.

Club fans were rallying on Twitter to arrange a round of applause during the fifth minute of the Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur Premier League match, due to kick off later in Manchester.

The Hollywood branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club said: “We are devastated at the loss of blue Craig Tarry in the accident.”

Radio One DJ Huw Stephens posted: “So sorry to hear the news about Viola Beach and their manager. The saddest news. Thinking of all their families at this awful time.”

Theresa Griffin, Labour MEP for the North West of England, wrote: “Tragic news – so bright local music talent taken so young thoughts & prayers with families & friends ‪#‎violabeach‬,”

Model and former Strictly Come Dancing winner Abbey Clancy added it was “such tragic news”.

James Walsh, lead singer of Starsailor, said: “Very sad to hear the awful news about Warrington’s Viola Beach and their manager. Lives and music tragically cut short in their prime.”

Ross Jarman, from The Cribs, said his “heart goes out to the Viola Beach guys and their families”.

The Coral’s James Skelly posted: “So sorry to hear about viola beach and Craig tarry’s accident so sad, their families must be devastated.”

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