01:30 > 02:00
The accumulation of water on the car deck

resulted in a loss of stability...

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The Bow visor was torn of by the pressure of the waves, and the wave impacts were then directly taken by the forward ramp. Something released the latching mechanisms and the ramp opened slightly, allowing the waves to spill onto the car deck. The accumulation of water on the car deck resulted in a loss of stability that finally led to the capsizing of the vessel.

Typical BowPicture of A bow construction

On  ferries with the same type of  bow construction there is apart from the main hydraulic latches a type of "storm lock" that consists of one or two gigantic stretching screws.
The use of these locks is grounded to the fact that the visor often "lives" a little bit in high sea despite to the standard locks. (Everybody can understand that even the lock of a normal door is easier to open forcibly by twitching if there is some loose between the latch and the ferrule.)
This additional locking is used in stormy weather. The screws must be manually attached, and I can tell you from experience that the working environment is really inconvenient, as the bow moves several meters up and down, pounding and shaking.
Usually two men must climb trough a small hatchway to the dark, wet and narrow space where the bow visor and the stem meet. Tightening is often required every one hour.
I will not comment if the Estonia had these locks, if they were in use or if it would have had any effect to the outcome.
Kent Härstedt:
- "At first people tried to help each other in some organized way, but after a while their striving turned just to individual efforts. People who were engird could hardly move at all.
I vividly recall one woman who I met as I got out to the deck. She had broken either one or both of her legs, and she pleaded to everybody for help to get a lifejacket. Finally we managed to give her one, but it was the "law of the jungle" that was in force. The strongest succeeded both to find a lifejacket and maybe even in some way create the best conditions to survive.
Up on the deck I met this girl, Sara, who also is here at this hospital. In order to get on the side of the ship and find the best place to jump we climbed together along a handrail through the side railing that was now a sort of ceiling grille. Everybody else clung and tried to get up but it was almost impossible to make it alone.
I pushed Sara up first and when she stood on the side she stretched out her hands and helped me up as well. Before we jumped, we made a deal that we would go out for dinner in Stockholm the next week. After that we both jumped, and disappeared down in the depth of the sea.
At this moment I actually thought that I had come to the end of the line. I was pulled down in the depth and had got something around my foot, some lines or ropes from the boat that drug me deeper and deeper. "
Vilho Itäranta:
- "A girl grabbed my hand and hung on for quite a long time, but I was to no help since there were two or three more people hanging on to me. They even tried to grab me in the mouth during the panic.
Then there was this man who pulled me in the raft. I think that there were six of us there in this life boat (he means raft). One perished probably immediately....quite soon. Then one girl, the one that had held my hand...she.....she died..... (Itäranta can hardly speak) about one hour before rescue.
Kent Härstedt:
- Everything just went black, and the last thing I recall is that the line for some reason came of my left foot. I don't know, but I must have lost my consciousness for a short moment because the next moment I was afloat again. After a few seconds another head appeared beside me. Who was that??
-Yes, it was Sara!!
The Viking Line passenger ferry Mariella that was hurrying to the place of the accident had the last radar observation of Estonia at 02:04.

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