Konginkangas Bus Disaster

The Konginkangas bus disaster was a major traffic accident on March 19, 2004, outside the Konginkangas housing estate 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 tractor trailer carrying heavy paper rolls weighing about 61.5 tonnes (60.5 LT; 67.8 ST) total. The accident occurred on highway 4 (E75) 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Äänekoski, and left the bus driver and 22 passengers dead; 15 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 paperrolls ejected into the bus. The tractor trailer driver was left unharmed.

At least 23 people were killed and 15 injured, several of them seriously, in a collision between a coach and a lorry loaded with rolls of paper on Highway 4 near Äänekoski, Central Finland, some 300 kilometres north of Helsinki. The accident happened at around 2 a.m. this morning.

The coach was carrying young people travelling from Helsinki to the popular ski-resort of Ruka in Southern Lapland. It collected additional passengers in Tampere. At the time of the accident the bus held around 40 passengers. According to a senior police officer at the scene, nearly all the victims were teenagers and young people, with the youngest being around fourteen years of age.

A commission of inquiry investigating the collision of a bus and a lorry filled with paper rolls in March 2004 has found two main causes for the disaster. The crash in Konginkangas in Central Finland killed 23 people.

The immediate cause of the crash was error on the part of the drivers of the two vehicles.

The driver of the tractor-trailer combination lost control of the vehicle because of excessive speed and the line he took through the preceding corner.

Meanwhile, the bus driver, who was one of the people who died, did not try to steer the bus away from the oncoming truck, even though the anti-lock braking system on the bus would have allowed such a manoeuvre.