K. Härstedt (Rescued): ...this night will always be the longest in my life.

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The first rescue helicopter with five rescued landed on the deck of Silja Symphony at 04:10, next five two hours later and 11 rescued and one deceased at 07:57.


According to captain Hans Modig none of those alive seemed to be in very weak condition. They where taken care of by the ships nurse and a doctor and psychologist who were found among the passengers. Two of the saved were women and the rest were men.


Kent Härstedt:
" - We sat and hugged each other all the time. I strongly believe, that partly that we kept each other present and maintained our physical warmth, and partly that we encouraged each other all the time, chatting in a reasonable way, helped us two through the night in a better way, than many who maybe set themselves to make it on their own.


- Little by little they died and were left lying in the raft.
So we were sitting there among dead bodies in the raft.
It feels totally unreal, and this night will always be the longest in my life. The memory of the young and older people, both girls and boys who died onboard on our raft during that night, makes me feel totally miserable as there was nothing whatsoever to be done to help them."


Commodore Raimo Tiilikainen from the Sea Rescue Center in Turku (Press release early in the morning 29.09.1994) :
"During the night we have not found any more casualties, any more bodies, the situation is nearly the same as in the evening."


Released 04.10.1994
The Joint Investigation Commission for the MV Estonia accident has on 4 October reviewed the currently available information and has reached the following preliminary conclusions.

1. The commission is of the opinion that, beyond all reasonable doubt, the cause of capsizing of the vessel was the accumulation of water on the car deck and the resulting loss of stability.

2. The commission is further convinced that the water entered the car deck at the forward ramp.

3. It has been concluded that the bow visor was lost underway. The hull part of the lower latch mechanism has been identified on pictures taken by underwater video cameras and has been found fractured. It is not at the present time known if the failure is due to metal fatigue or an isolated overload condition. The side latches have not yet been examined.

4. After loss of the bow visor, wave impacts have been taken directly by the forward ramp. The pounding of the waves seems to have gradually made the latching mechanisms to release, causing the ramp to open slightly. This has allowed waves to spill onto the car deck. It has not yet been verified if the ramp latches failed or moved out of their locking positions. It has not been verified if hull damage due to the loss of the bow visor has caused additional leakage.

5. The elapsed time between the various events has not yet been established.

6. It has not yet been possible to verify any problem in the hydraulic actuation system of the ramp latching mechanism that could explain why the ramp got unlatched in the seaway.

7. It has not yet been ascertained what information about the imminent danger that was available on the bridge prior to the accident and what actions that were attempted.

8. No signals were received from any EPIRB beacon. It has not been possible to verify if the beacons were released heavy list.

On behalf of the Joint Investigation Commission


Andi Meister

Olof Forsberg

Kari Lehtola


"-No one in the world knows, in real time, what happens out there and everywhere, on land, seas and in the air."
"-What comes to the wreck itself and the deceased in it, my personal opinion is that it should be left there. This whole show starts al over again if it was to be lifted. I think that it would be quite an unpleasant feeling for the relatives if it all would be rent around the world through living room TV - screens.
All the horror that would be revealed."

Commodore Raimo Tiilikainen

There is a saying among sailors that goes something like: "Its easy to be a wise guy ashore when things go wrong out at sea."

S-G Berglund

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