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Viola Beach investigation: Police examine car as probe into indie band's death begins

Safety barriers were in place and red lights were flashing as the band’s vehicle approached, police in Sweden say.

AN INVESTIGATION IS under way into the accident that killed all four members of British indie band Viola Beach in Sweden at the weekend.

The four died, along with their manager, when their car plunged more than 25 metres from a bridge into a canal in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The band had just played their first gig outside of the UK.

vb Source: Communion Records

“We can confirm that our son Craig, along with four members of the band Viola Beach, were involved in a fatal accident in the early hours of Saturday morning,” a statement issued by the family of manager Craig Tarry said.

Craig was a warm, loving person who had worked tirelessly to achieve success and follow his dreams within the music industry.

The family of guitarist River Reeves said they were “heartbroken” by the news.

“Viola Beach were on such an exciting journey and River could not have been happier. He would have loved to have stuck around for the party,” said a family statement.

All River wanted to do was perform and entertain and to think that he will never make us laugh again with his ridiculous impressions and cheeky banter is beyond comprehension. We are so proud of him.
The young men were all aged between 19 and 32.


The five died when their car hit a barrier and plunged off a canal bridge at Sodertalje, a southern district of the capital Stockholm.

Their vehicle reportedly approached at speed the bridge which was not fully shut after allowing a vessel to pass underneath.

Swedish police told the BBC that there were two safety barriers in place and that red warning lights were flashing as the vehicle approached.

Other vehicles were waiting for the bridge to close fully. The car is now being examined.

A lorry driver who spoke to the Aftonbladet newspaper said that one car arrived “at a crazy speed … at least 70-80 kph”.

That’s very quick when everybody else was stopped.

The group, who last year had released a debut single, had been in Sweden for Friday night’s “Where’s the music” festival in the central city of Norrkoping and were headed back to Britain.

“It was the first time they had played outside of Britain. They were full of hope,” festival organiser Folkert Koopmans told Aftonbladet.

Sadly it seems the four and their manager died in the accident. It’s terrible.

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The band’s record label, Communion, said in a statement that the four-piece had everything going for them: “great songs, passion, talent, drive…”.

“To sit down with the band was to sit down with a group of guys whose band you wanted to be in, and to be in the presence of a band who knew just what it would take to make it.

“This is why the band had been in Sweden, rather than sit back and wait for it to happen to them, Kris, River, Jack and Tom were determined to go out into the world and play every show they could until the world was singing along with them, and now that dream has been sadly taken away from all of us.

Equally, Craig, their manager was possessed by a passion to help the band achieve everything they wanted to, and to speak with Craig about Viola Beach, and music in general was an absolute pleasure – you knew he was doing it all for the right reasons. Everyone here at Communion is in a state of total shock and sorrow, and our thoughts go out to the families and friends of Craig and the band.

The four-piece had recently put out their second single ‘Boys That Sing’. All proceeds made from the single will now be donated to the families of the band and their manager, the statement confirmed.

With reporting from AFP. 

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Daragh Brophy

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