She was driving on the opposite lane when a steel pedestrian bridge collapsed in Laajasalo in the east of Helsinki soon after three PM on Monday.
One motorist was killed and three were injured in the collapse.The accident occurred when a lorry with a crane went under the bridge with the crane in the upright position. It collided with the bridge, which collapsed immediately.
Abner was the last of a row of three vehicles. In the first, a van, the driver was killed. The second, a taxi for the transport of disabled people, crashed into the van, injuring the driver and one passenger. Also injured was the driver of the crane lorry.
Abner managed to stop her car in time. “I started slowly from the lights. I am really a timid driver, and I am afraid to drive in the winter, and I didn’t want to be too close to the other cars.
She said that she watched the crash with the bridge like a slow-motion film.
“I don’t think that I even pressed the brakes very hard. I just applied the brakes and waited while the pieces of the bridge flew by. Later I wondered why I didn’t back up. Everything was so close. It was like a tsunami that I was watching as an outsider, as if it were a movie.”
“It had to be human error if dad left the crane too high”, said the son of the lorry driver to Helsingin Sanomat on Monday evening. The two work in the same company.
“A similar accident happened to me a few years ago, when an outsider came to talk to me and I accidentally left the crane up. It collided with a bridge and broke up”, he said.
After the accident, Abner was in a state of panic. She turned her car onto the other lane, sounded her horn and tried to warn others by flashing her lights.
“I had been in first aid training the whole day, but when the accident happened, it didn’t occur to me to call 112 (the Finnish emergency number). A million others called it. I just thought how can it be that I was not hit.”