Share story

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A 24-year-old man was sentenced to two years in jail for aggravated manslaughter Thursday for crashing his jet ski into a boat, in Copenhagen, killing two American students.

The Copenhagen City Court said the Danish man, who cannot be named under a court order pending a possible appeal by the prosecution, fled after the fatal crash on May 6, 2016, to a suburban harbor where he was arrested. He has admitted steering the jet ski that slammed into a rental boat containing a group of students.

Leah Bell, 18, of Madisonville, Louisiana, and Linsey Malia, 21, of Easton, Massachusetts, were killed. They had gone on the trip with five other students from the Copenhagen-based Study Abroad in Scandinavia foundation.

The man had denied aggravated manslaughter and told the court he lost control of the jet ski.

Defense attorney Jane Ranum told Denmark’s TV2 the man “is relieved it is over,” and he will not appeal.

Seven other people — six men and one woman — also were on trial in the same case but were not charged with aggravated manslaughter. All were given fines for riding jet skis within the city harbor without proper permission.

Judge Pia Petersen said the eight people didn’t meet beforehand to sail as a group but joined each other as they rode through the harbor.

A license to ride a jet ski has become mandatory in Demark following the crash. The government has called for some identification of jet skis, like a registration plate. Many lawmakers say rules forbidding the use of recreational watercraft closer than 300 meters (330 yards) from the coast should be enforced.