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One dead as bridge collapses in Sweden

A man has been reported missing after a bridge collapsed Saturday afternoon in northern Sweden. Later, a man, still unidentified, was found dead under the bridge.

The man was reported missing after the bridge over Bönälven, north of Överkalix, collapsed Saturday.

The missing man was working on the demolition of the bridge, which is no longer in use, Peter Wikström, an officer with Norrbotten’s emergency service, told the TT news agency.

At about 3.20pm a local witness called emergency services to alert them of the collapsed bridge. At 6pm the man was still missing.

“He is gone,” Rolf Stoltz, an emergency responder, told Dagens Nyheter (DN) Saturday evening.

“We do not know if he is stuck under the bridge or if he travelled with the water current. It is high tide now. We will continue to look for him and will keep on until dusk,” said Stoltz while in a boat on the river.

Late Saturday night, authorities’ search ended when they discovered a dead man, not yet identified, in the water, under the collapsed bridge.

The 50 metre bridge had been built in 1957 and was no longer used. A new bridge, built further downstream, is scheduled for completion this fall.

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TRAVEL

Why Brits and Germans can’t get enough of northern Sweden

The number of British tourists travelling to Sweden's northernmost county has doubled since 2010, according to the regional tourist board. And it's not the only nationality on the increase.

Why Brits and Germans can't get enough of northern Sweden
Northern Lights in Sweden. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Northern Lights. Skiing. Winter. Midnight Sun. Icehotel.

There's no shortage of tourist attractions in northern Sweden. And it looks like the world has caught on, with an increasing number of international tourists travelling to the northernmost county, Norrbotten, every year.

“We have seen an incredible development in the past few years,” Erica Mattsson, CEO of hospitality organization Swedish Lapland Visitors Board, told the TT newswire on Tuesday.

Two thirds of Norrbotten visitors are from other parts of Sweden, but the number of foreign tourists is growing at a faster rate than Swedish tourists thanks to a series of international marketing campaigns.

The number of Brits visiting the county has doubled since 2010, and German tourists have increased by 50 percent in the same period. In 2016 alone, British tourists increased by 20 percent, according to Swedish Lapland Visitors Board. A spokesperson told newspaper NSD that it was the biggest increase of the year.

Mattsson told TT that the region has developed its international marketing strategy together with Norway, Finland and Iceland in recent years to target tourists wanting to experience life in the Arctic region.

“It is like an entire package of Arctic winter experiences. But what really has developed in these years is Aurora tourism,” she said, listing for example dog sleigh tours and photography courses specifically focusing on northern Scandinavia's dazzling Northern Lights phenomenon.

“We have had a clear focus on Europe, mainly Great Britain and Germany. We are now also starting to expand the market to more European countries, but also the US. And we are also looking at Asia,” said Mattsson.

READ ALSO: Seven stunning Northern Lights snaps from Sweden

Northern Sweden is not the only region welcoming more and more international tourists. The success of hit TV shows The Bridge and Wallander among other things in 2015 saw the number of Brits travelling to southern region Skåne rise by 29 percent in just one year.