Accident probe: No technical failure
March 27, 2010
It will be a few more weeks before their report is finished, but investigators probing the cause of a fatal accident involving runaway railcars in Oslo say they’ve so far found no signs of technical or equipment failure. Meanwhile, the son of one victim is threatening a lawsuit.
The state accident investigation commission (Havarikommisjonen) still can’t explain what caused 16 box cars to start rolling out of a large freight train terminal at Alnabru on Wednesday. Somehow the railcars managed to enter tracks leading down to another terminal on the waterfront, nearly eight kilometers away, and they careened out of control until they crashed into terminal buildings, overturned or landed in the fjord. Three persons working at the waterfront terminal were killed and four injured.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported Saturday that investigators have examined equipment at Alnabru, and traveled the route that the runaway rail cars took. They could find no signs of equipment failure, but noted that the current system allowed for the railcars to roll into the track down to the harbor.
They are now looking for evidence of human error. “Based on earlier experience, there are always human aspects involved in an accident,” said Kurt Olsen of the commission. He said his team hopes to deliver its report on the accident within 30 days.
Meanwhile, the 35-year-old son of one of the victims, Leif Kåre Nordmo, age 67, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) he would take the case to court if the commission fails to place responsibility for the accident. He said his father had worked more than 40 years as a truck driver, was on the verge of retiring, and that it was difficult to fathom that he had been killed in such a bizarre accident.
The other victims were Cato Kyrre Breistrand, age 58, and Geir Atle Lind, age 49, both of whom worked for Oslo Harbour and Oslo Container Terminal.