A Finnish container ship crashed into an iron train bridge last night, causing extensive damage to the bridge and putting it out of service for at least six months.
The damaged iron bridge crosses Limfjorden, a strip of sea that separates northern Jutland from the rest of the peninsula, and provides the only train connection for those living north of the strait.
Train operator DSB has set up coach service for those needing to cross the strait, but said travellers should expect 30 minute delays, while the police stressed that the accident would have far reaching consequences for northern Jutland residents.
“It means that northern Jutland is cut off from the rest of Denmark right now,” Per Vagn Nielsen from North Jutland Police told Jyllands Posten. “There are many people who use trains every day and this will extend their travel time.”
The 403-metre-long bridge connects the city of Aalborg on the southern side of the strait with Nørresundby on the north and has a 300-tonne draw bridge section that opens to allow large freight ships to pass.
But while the bridge opens about 4,000 times a year without a hitch, last night at about 10pm, it failed to do so and the container ship ploughed straight into, it causing massive structural damage.
The Finnish captain was not found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, though his ship is now in Aalborg while police and the maritime authorities attempt to determine the cause of the crash, currently thought to be a result of a breakdown in communication.
The captain reported that as he travelled east along Limfjord he voiced alarm that the bridge had not opened and reversed the engine of the 75-metre ship but was unable to avoid a collision.
Jyllands-Posten reported this morning that three minutes before the collision a high speed train crossed the bridge. If the train were to have crossed after the collision, it is likely that it would have derailed.
Road connections are unaffected and coaches are now shuttling passengers between Aalborg Station and the next station on the line, Lindholm.