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Photo: SAS

Wrong coffin sent to Gdansk: SAS investigates

The casket containing the body of a Norwegian man was flown to Poland by mistake – and buried.

Norwegian and Polish authorities are today meeting in Gdansk to try to solve an unfortunate situation in which the coffin containing a recently deceased Norwegian man was carried there on a SAS flight by mistake.

The coffin of Øyvind Fredriksen, 57, somehow ended up in the Polish port city instead of Mandal, a coastal town near Kristiansand, the tabloid VG writes.

Today’s meeting to find out how the coffin can return to Norway comes one week after it was taken by a funeral company awaiting another coffin from Norway – and buried Fredriksen in Poland.

SAS tells VG that 20 people are investigating how the error, which is believed to have caused immense distress for both families, could have happened.

“It could be both human and technical. We are having an internal investigation to clarify this,” SAS communications representative Knut Morten Johansen tells VG.

The coffin of Øyvind Fredriksen arrived in Gdansk last Friday accompanied by a policeman from Norway. It was later buried inside a casket-like chamber, as Catholics generally do not favour cremation.

Strange coincidence
Fredriksen, a primary school teacher, became seriously ill and died in Tromsø on May 5, surrounded by his family, but he wanted to be buried in his childhood city.

By coincidence, Gdansk has also been expecting a coffin to arrive. One possibility speculated on by VG is that the plane with Fredriksen’s coffin was originally routed to Kristiansand and then had a flight change. Another possibility is that the computer system printed duplicates of the shipping certificates, though this is highly unlikely.

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