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George Lansmanis: Sweden violates human rights

Olga Pavuk, BC, Riga, 21.05.2010.Print version
Einars Lansmanis, two-time Latvia downhill skiing Champion and this year’s two-times Baltic Cup Winner, recently had a heavy accident at the Swedish Alpine skiing resort in Gällivare as he collided with a snowmobile going downhill. Though the snowmobile driver was obviously guilty, Swedes do they best to avoid investigation. Einars is advocated by the Latvian Ski Association and his father, who is ready to fight till the last Swedish Arctic glacier melts.

I met the father and his son at the Hospital of the Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics, where Einars waited for an extremely complex operation on a splintered knee for a month a month after the crash. The doctors postpone the operation every week since there is an inflammatory process and the operation cannot be performed while they try to cope with it. They also still unaware how much time rehabilitation will take. Einars, 22, and his parents still believe that he will be absolutely well after some time and will be able to go for skiing again. 

On the accident and the actions of Swedish police

Let’s summarize what happened.


A day before the accident Einars participated in the competition as a part of the Alpine Team and was 22nd being on the top of his career with 44.72 points according to the FIS giant slalom rating. The next morning before the upcoming competitions he and his teammate, Estonian slalomist David Oprya, were lifted up the hill to take the necessary inventory and then decided to go down the only slope going round the trace.         


Einars went down first; David was 15 or 20 m behind. Within 2 or 3 minutes he would have reached the final section, when Einars stumbled over a pit and jumped, then he saw the snowmobile rushing in the very middle of the skiing track. Einars was in the air and could not change his direction, and as a result he run into the front part of the snowmobile, flew over the car, and landed into the snow.   

In a state of shock and in very grave condition E. Lansmanis was delivered to the Gällivare Hospital, where the first operation was performed. As a consequence of the accident the doctors established two leg fractures and a heavily splintered knee. Thanks to his professionalism Einars was able to avoid spine and internal injuries.   


Local police arrived to the scene of the accident and recorded its details. The accident was investigated by the Gällivare Police Station within the TBD — 1781/10 case, inspector Kyell Kruk supervised by Henry Nilsson investigated the accident.


As a result of the investigation the police just confirmed the actual accident and refused the claim against the driver Karl Falk, ignoring the facts evidently entailing a claim since the serious consequences were obvious.    


A Swedish lawyer supports this position; he supposes that evidences in the case are enough to bring an action against the snowmobile driver according to Article SFS 1951:649  of the Criminal Code (Trafikbrottslagen). 

Father commences his own investigation

Photo 1.

Upon his arrival to Sweden Einar’s father George Lansmanis spent two weeks with his son, trying to examine the matter. Moreover, he made much more than Swedish policemen. There are many white spots in this case. For example, only rear part of the snowmobile is seen on the photo, and the front part cannot be seen (photo 1).  


The snowmobile that collided with the skier was not equipped with necessary safety equipment: audible and visible signal, there was no obligatory flagpole with a flag (one of the necessary accident preventatives). Moreover, K. Kruk investigating the accident told D. Opre that the snowmobile was not equipped with audible and visible signals obligatory for all snowmobiles on skiing tracks. The more so, Finnish trainers, who participated in the competition, confirmed in a notarized statement that they saw a man putting a flag on the crashed snowmobile. In order to hide the truth the photos of different types of snowmobiles were attached to the case (photo 2) this means that there was an obvious juggling with facts.    

Photo 2.

G. Lansmanis believes that the investigation was rough, not all facts of the case were established and not all available witnesses were interrogated. Einars’ father found out why technical passport, registration certificate and driver’s license were not attached to the case. It turned out that the snowmobile did not pass the maintenance checkup and was not registered, and the snowmobile driver, K. Falk, was a starter at the competition. It’s interesting to know that only on April 20 that is 19 days later after the accident the snowmobile was registered at the local club. The local police makes its best efforts to protect Swedes. Talking to G. Lansmanis an investigator was honest: “You have to understand me, I am this city dweller”.       


Gällivare Sports Club represented by its head Eric Henriksson and responsible persons of Dundret skiing resort, who organized the competitions, are not interested in fair investigation of the accident and try to hide true reasons of the crash resulted in Latvian slalomist’s heavy injuries. There is every reason to believe that the management of the Swedish sports club does its best to protect its employees.


The position of International Ski Federation (FIS) is also surprising; it does not want to bear responsibility for the accident with the sportsman. FIS states that its liabilities are limited by the organization of competitions. It may seem that morning E. Lansmanis was just jogging.  


The father is indignant at the attitude of Swedes towards this accident. During two weeks spent in the Gällivare Hospital none of the sport club or city administration representatives visited him.  The journalists of the local Norbotten Krrjnen Newspaper had promised to come, but instead of this an article stating that Einars was rushing down the hill and could not avoid the collision was published. A journalist even did not try to find out why the snowmobile appeared in the middle of the skiing track, which is strictly prohibited at every skiing resort!

Latvians are treated as Papuans in Sweden

Three parties are guilty of the accident: snowmobile driver driving without the maintenance checkup, the local Gällivare Sports Club that keeps silence in response of the sufferer’s father and hiding the truth in relation to the accident, and the managers of the Dundret resort that let the snowmobile drive without maintenance checkup and necessary technical equipment. And one more conclusion is as follows: the press regarded as the basis of Swedish democracy is corrupted and biased.   


That is why G. Lansmanis believes that human rights as well as the right of fair investigation and fair judgment, which are the basic human rights, are violated in Sweden. He says that already six Swedish layers refused to help to investigate this case for the advocacy of Latvians is considered to be mauvais ton in Sweden.  


 “In general we are treated as Papuans in Sweden, not as Latvian skiers taking part in competitions, they scorn us after this accident, says G. Lansmanis indignantly. I wait for the reaction of the Embassy of Sweden in Latvia and for exhausting information from the Swedish Ski Federation.


At the same time G. Lansmanis emphasizes friendliness of doctors and medical stuff of Gällivare Hospital towards his son. He also appreciates the assistance of the BAN insurance company and its president Eric Teilans as well as international CORRIS insurance company and their support and assistance in transportation of Einars to Riga.

What was lost by the sportsman and Latvia?

It may be worth mentioning what Einars Lansmanis and Latvia will lose due to the criminal negligence of Swedish authorities. Considering the results of the winter season for the first time an American ski team invited a Latvian sportsman, and he had a chance to enter the Saint Michael College with annual scholarship of USD 35,000 that could have covered the young sportsman’s expenses.  

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