In some terribly sad news out of Sweden today, all four members of UK indie pop outfit Viola Beach have been killed in a horrific car crash in the country’s capital.
Police say the vehicle that the band was travelling in careened off a bridge in Stockholm – which had opened to let a boat pass underneath – plunging almost 25 metres into the canal below.
According to SMH, a witness to the incident reports that a number of vehicles had stopped at a barrier on the bridge when a car – travelling at up to 80km/h – drove through the flashing lights, crashed into a beam and disappeared off the edge.
“There were no brake marks on the road and it’s very difficult to say how fast the car was going at the time,” Inspector Martin Bergholm told Swedish news organisation Aftonbladet.
“The witnesses just saw a car beside them and kind of disappear. The only people who knew what went on inside the car are dead.”
All four members of the Warrington-based group – Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin – died in the crash, along with their manager, Craig Tarry, who was also in the car.
Viola Beach had played at a Swedish music festival on Friday, and were scheduled to support headliners Blossoms at a concert in Guildford, outside of London, on Saturday.
The accident occurred at around 2.30 on Saturday morning, prompting venue The Boileroom to cancel the gig.
“We are saddened and devastated as details have come to light of this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with family and friends,” the venue said in a statement.
The family of Viola Beach guitarist River Reeves have also released a statement, saying they are “heartbroken following River’s tragic death and the circumstances which have seen him lose his life alongside the bandmates and manager he adored and loved being with”.
“Viola Beach were on such an exciting journey and River could not have been happier,” they continued. “He would have loved to have stuck around for the party.”
Viola Beach were scheduled to perform several big ticket showcases at this year’s SXSW festival in March, including the prestigious BBC Introducing, after releasing their debut single Swings & Waterslides last year.
The four piece recently put out their second single Boys That Sing via Communion Records, and the label has promised to donate all proceeds from the sale of the single to support family members of the band and their manager.
You can help by downloading it via iTunes here.
Meanwhile, social media has been flooded by tributes from people who knew the band.
Watch: Viola Beach – Swings & Waterslides
Tragic news about Viola Beach. Young band, first tour outside the UK. My thoughts are with their families and friends.
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) February 14, 2016
The news about @Viola_Beach is awful, we had the honour of playing alongside these amazing guys last year. They were brilliant. RIP x
— The Elephant Trees (@theeletrees) February 14, 2016
We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of lifelong #mcfc supporter Craig Tarry, manager of the band Viola Beach.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 14, 2016
Absolutely devastated for the loss of Viola Beach and Craig Tarry. Our thoughts are with their friends and families. pic.twitter.com/Fg52on42as
— B L O S S O M S (@BlossomsBand) February 14, 2016
Our hearts go out to the families and friends of @Viola_Beach. So sad x
— KasabianHQ (@KasabianHQ) February 14, 2016