British indie pop band Viola Beach died in Södertälje, south of Stockholm, Sweden, on Saturday when their car plunged more than 25 meters off a highway bridge that was closing and into a canal.
Their management company confirms the tragic loss.
– They were lovely people. It's a tragedy, says John Zagata at Bullitt records.
Guitarist and vocalist Kris Leonard, guitarist River Reeves, bass player Tomas Lowe and drummer Jack Dakin all died in the pre-dawn accident on the E4 highway in the city of Södertälje on Saturday. The indie pop group from Warrington, UK, was on their way from playing at the festival ”Where's the music?” in the city of Norrköping, together with their manager Craig Tarry, when the accident happened around 2 a.m.
The cause of the accident is still not known. It is believed that their car smashed into a road barrier before plunging into the canal, 25 metres (82 feet) off the bridge.
Police spokeswoman Eva Nilsson said on Saturday that divers recovered bodies of five men, born between 1983 and 1996.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in United Kingdom tells Aftonbladet that five Britons died in Sweden on Saturday, but can't confirm their identities or any further details at this point.
”We can confirm that five British Nationals died in a car accident in Sweden on 13 February. We are in contact with local authorities and supporting the families at this difficult time”, a FCO spokesperson said in a statement.
John Zagata at Bullitt management, where he worked with Craig Tarry for ten years, later confirms that the five were in the car that plunged into the canal south of Sweden:
”Yes, they were all there. It's always a tragedy when someone dies. But when people this young and who have accomplished so much the last three months it's a really awful. They were all lovely people and really up and coming”.
”A huge tragedy”
Friends and family members of the musicians have expressed their grief on social media after being notified by police.
Folkert Koopmans is the CEO of FKP Scorpio who arranged the festival in Norrköping. He was informed about the tragedy during Saturday's evening.
He says that FKP Scorpio awaits official confirmation from authorities before they release a written statement to the press and to their followers on social media.
”But unfortunately the tragedy that the four members of Viola Beach and their manager has died in the accident seems to be true. It is horrible, a huge tragedy”, says Koopmans and adds:
”I saw them playing on friday night and it was actually the first time they played outside of the UK. They were really excited about it. My thoughts are with their families and friends.”