Guitarist Georg Laakso of the Finnish "pagan battle metal" act TURISAS was seriously injured in a car accident outside Hämeenlinna, Finland the night of October 27-28. The following update on his condition has been posted at the group's official web site:
"The last two weeks have been an extremely hard time for us and we hope that you understand how difficult it has been for us to come out with an update on Georg's condition. There have been days when the situation has appeared to be very dark, as well as days bringing good news and glimpses of hope. Georg's condition is now somewhat stable, but still extremely severe and the risk of different complications is still evident. The following part will give you more information on what actually happened and how things have moved on since then.
"The accident took place two weeks ago, on the night between Thursday and Friday (Oct. 27-28) when, for a reason still unknown, Georg's car swerved off the highway, crashing through an elk-fence before coming to a halt 60 meters farther ahead. The first reports on the accident did not come in before early Friday morning and the first police patrol was at the scene around 8 am. They, however, did not notice the unconscious Georg who was lying on the ground approximately 5 meters from the vehicle. Neither did the following patrol which came to the scene later in the afternoon to add some more police tape in the fence as a signal to the motorists passing by that the police had already been there. Georg was reported missing on Friday afternoon. It was not before 6 pm Georg's brother found him at the scene of the accident and called the emergency number. When Georg was lifted up from the ground his heart stopped beating. At that point he had been lying unconscious on the icy ground for some 12 hours minimum, and his body temperature had gone down to 20.1 °C. No other persons were involved in the accident.
"Georg was rushed to Hämeenlinna Central Hospital and later in the night transferred to the intensive care unit at Meilahti Hospital in Helsinki. During this time the nursing staff kept his heart beating by hand for well over four hours. At Meilahti Hospital he was connected to a heart-lung machine and heart operation was started immediately.
"During the last two weeks Georg has gone through several operations on his heart, abdomen, feet etc. His body temperature has been raised slowly up towards normal, which has brought up some problems with his right leg not heating up properly due to bad frostbites. He has shown marks of consciousness throughout last week, and has been awake for short periods during the last days, but is still kept under anaesthesia and heavy narcosis most of the time. His heart is now somewhat working on its own, but his breathing is still controlled by a respirator, and there are also problems with his kidneys. Apart from a few broken ribs and a minor fracture in his jaw, the crash did not cause notable external damage. Recent scans have not shown any signs of brain damage either, but at this stage that is still far too early to speculate on.
"We would like to express our gratitude for all the kind words and thoughts you have posted in our guestbook. Your concern really means a lot to us and has given both us and Georg's family a lot of strenght during these hard two weeks. We, together with Georg's family, wish that you continue posting your thoughts and greetings in our guestbook or on our forum, as all your posts have been, and will be in the future as well, forwarded to the hospital staff who are reading your greetings directly for Georg. We would also like to thank you all for the extremely tactful manner in which you have received these heavy news not declining to any level of rumours or speculations. We will keep you posted on how things move on again as soon as there is something new to tell."
Back in July 2004, Laakso was stabbed six times in the back times in the group's hometown of Hämeenlinna, Finland after getting into a fight with a stranger.
TURISAS' debut album, "Battle Metal", was released in July 2004 through Century Media Records. "Battle Metal" was produced by Terje Refsnes (TRISTANIA, MORGUL) at Sound Suite Studios in Marseiile, France, and "offers the most precious ingredients of epic viking metal, almost sounding like a mixture of bands such as IN EXTREMO, FALKENBACH, NIGHTWISH and FINNTROLL," according to an official press release.