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Y2013-01 Collapse of riding hall in Laukaa that led to child´s death on 13 February 2013


A privately owned riding hall in the municipality of Laukaa collapsed at around 5 pm on 13 Febru-ary 2013. One child was killed when the riding hall collapsed. In addition, four people were injured in the accident, two of whose injuries were categorised as serious. One of the seriously injured persons was an adult, the rest of the injured were minors.

The accident occurred soon after the beginning of a riding lesson. The riding hall collapsed rapidly, leaving those inside no chance of escaping. It collapsed almost completely. Only the end structures of the riding hall did not completely collapse, although they were severely misshapen.

The rescue services arrived on the scene around 10 minutes from the alarm being given and began rescue procedures. By then, the fatally injured victim had already died of her injuries. The rescue services rescued two seriously injured persons from under the wreckage.

The area was cordoned off by police and by Defence Force teams called to the scene later to provide executive assistance. The police began an on-site technical and tactical investigation. This was conducted in cooperation with the Safety Investigation Authority on-site investigation.

Built in 1995, the hall had a steel structure and was mainly buttressed by three-hinged frames. This structure was similar to the one that collapsed in Lieto in 2010; at the time, as required by law, the Safety Investigation Authority issued a hazard notification on the related problems. This message never reached the user of the Laukaa riding hall.

Serious errors and omissions were made in the design, manufacturing and building processes for the riding hall. The building was completed on the basis of inadequate designs and partly even without designs of any kind. During the building stage, departures were made from planned solutions without the agreement of the designer. The problem with the building process lay in the fact that a fairly demanding construction project of this kind would have required better overall coordination and quality assurance processes.

The Safety Investigation Authority repeats the recommendation that it first made during the investigation of collapsed buildings in 2006, that an inspection procedure should be developed which would enable the identification of buildings in possible danger of collapse. Upon the discovery of risky building types and structures, there should be a method for locating other, corresponding buildings for further measures. For this reason, we recommend that property databases be developed to make information fundamental to the safety of premises more available to the authorities. Within Finland, structural engineering and construction inspection procedures should be extended to buildings that are not covered by the current special procedures but which, if damaged, would pose a risk of serious injury to occupants. It is recommended that guidelines be drawn up to avoid future rapid and extensive collapses of the kind that have occurred.

To improve the efficiency of rescue and clearing operations in accidents which occur in challenging circumstances, it is recommended that practices, such as those intended for the internationally operating Finn Rescue Finland (FRF) teams, also be drawn up for domestic operations.

Y2013-01 report.pdf (pdf, 7.5 Mt)

Published 21.1.2014