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Four killed as train hits military vehicle at crossing in Finland

A train has hit a military vehicle at an unguarded railway crossing in southern Finland, killing four people and injuring 11 others, officials said.

Three soldiers and one train passenger died in the crash near Raseborg, about 50 miles south west of Helsinki.

"Today I have received a heartbreaking message: three conscripts have died in an accident in Raseborg," General Jarmo Lindberg, the head of Finland's armed forces, said in a statement.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, local police chief Mats Sjoholm said.

"The crossing is unguarded, and the weather was bad due to snowfall," he told a news conference.

Eleven people have been taken to nearby hospitals.

Defence minister Jussi Niinisto tweeted that "the morning had started with grim news" and "I feel grief".

The truck, a Finnish-made Sisu SA-150 transport vehicle, was carrying eight soldiers who were taking part in a drill, military spokesman Jorgen Engroos said.

Two trucks had left a nearby military facility in the morning and were heading for a military exercise area when the crash happened.

The commuter train, from Finland's state-owned VR railway company, struck the vehicle at a crossing with no security features.

Images from the scene showed a slightly damaged train and the wreck of what appears to be a military vehicle in the woods.

Finnish broadcaster YLE said Mr Niinisto had ordered flags at all military facilities to fly at half-mast.

President Sauli Niinisto expressed his condolences in a statement, calling it an "unfortunate tragedy", and saying the conscripts were taking part in "a task for the fatherland".

AP

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