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Finland enjoys relatively safe Midsummer weekend

This year two people drowned over the Midsummer weekend in Finland, and no one died on the roads, according to police.

Juhannuskoivuja tuulessa.
Likely due to the windy, wet weather, Finland's Midsummer holiday weekend saw few casualties, compared to recent years. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

A higher-than-average number of calls came in to Finland's emergency services during the long Midsummer weekend, according to public safety officials, but overall the holiday went relatively smoothly.

Emergency response centres received a total of some 24,000 calls, or around 3,000 more calls than last year.

While Finnish police report officers responded to many disturbance complaints and dealt with a good deal of drunk drivers, no one died in traffic accidents over the weekend.

The most serious boating incident occurred on Friday in the southern Savo municipality of Rantasalmi involving a recreational boat which capsized. All 13 of the boat's passengers fell into the water. Twelve of the passengers were pulled from the lake, but one remains missing and is feared dead.

Another death occurred in Jalasjärvi in southern Ostrobothnia on Thursday night, when an elderly woman drowned while swimming just before the holiday weekend began.

Calm in comparison

If no further deaths are reported, Midsummer 2018 will be remembered as a very peaceful one, according to police. On average over the past decade about five people have died in accidents over the Midsummer weekend.

The lowest number of midsummer fatalities during the past 10 years was in 2014, when one woman died, while ten people lost their lives in both 2012 and 2010.

Police in southern Finland's Uusimaa region said they dealt with eight cases of drink driving violations, half of which were aggravated. Six people were arrested for drunkenness and fighting. Police said Midsummer Eve was about as busy as a regular Friday night.

The Coast Guard tweeted on Sunday that they responded over the weekend to some 20 incidents at sea and arrested four boaters for operating while intoxicated.

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