- Title: MS Estonia: Sweden remembers worst peacetime disaster, 25 years on
- Date: 28th September 2019
- Summary: ORCHESTRA PLAYS VARIOUS OF FLOWER WREATHS AT MEMORIAL
- Embargoed: 12th October 2019 16:41
- Keywords: Tallinn to Stockholm Crown Princess Victoria Stefan Lofven memorial 25 years maritime disaster Baltic Sea 852 people drowned Estonia
- Location: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
- City: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
- Country: Sweden
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Sea Accidents
- Reuters ID: LVA002AYKMSZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: FILE MATERIAL CAN BE FOUND ON CONNECT. EDIT NUMBER 4067
Swedish Crown Princess Victoria laid a wreath at the Estonia Ferry Disaster memorial in Stockholm on Saturday (September 28) at a ceremony marking 25 years since the disaster in the Baltic Sea in which 852 people lost their lives.
In Europe's worst peacetime maritime disaster, the Estonia, carrying 803 passengers and 186 crew, sank on a stormy Baltic Sea after midnight on September 28, 1994, off the Finnish island of Uto, en route from the Estonian capital Tallinn to Stockholm, Sweden.
The ferry had left Tallinn in weather that was later described as "normally bad" for this time of the year. All scheduled ferries were at sea.
At around 0100 local time (2200 GMT) when the ferry had reached the outskirts of the Finnish archipelago, a metallic bang was heard, caused by a heavy wave hitting the bow doors. The bang was followed by other similar noises and some fifteen minutes later, the bow's visor separated, the bow door opened and the ship immediately took on a heavy list as water flooded into the car deck.
The ship disappeared from radar screens at around 2250 GMT.
Other ferries in the area helped out in the rescue operation and helicopters were dispatched from the mainland. They managed to rescue 138 people.
One of those rescued was Sara Hedrenius who was 20-years-old at the time. She told the gathered about the difficulties of coming to terms with surviving the disaster and her subsequent decision to work with crisis management to help others.
Others were not that lucky.
Harald Setsaas, from Norway, lost his six-year-old son Hjorund in the disaster and spoke of his loss, remembering that day 25 years ago.
It is thought the accident claimed the lives of 501 Swedes and 285 Estonians by drowning and hypothermia. The rest of the deceased were people of other nationalities. Since there were no complete passenger lists, the number remains uncertain.
The official report indicated that the strain of the waves had caused the locks on the bow door to fail and that the subsequent failure of the bow ramp allowed water into the vehicle deck. The water in the vehicle deck was listed as the main cause of the capsizing and sinking.
The Estonia Agreement 1995, a treaty among Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Denmark, Russia and the United Kingdom, declared sanctity over the site, forbidding their citizens from even approaching the wreck.
(Production: Bjorn Lockstrom, Ilze Filks)
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