The Baltic Ferry Disaster: 'Estonia' found in blackspot of Baltic

FINLAND'S leading expert on locating wrecks last night found the sunken ferry Estonia on the Baltic seabed, in an area known to seamen as the 'Graveyard of Ships'.

But the search ship, which used sophisticated sonar equipment to pick out the hull lying on its side on the ocean floor, just south of Uto Island in the Gulf of Finland, was unable to send remote video cameras down to examine the ferry, because of high winds and rough seas.

Coast guard officers who have co-ordinated the search of the area since the disaster in the early hours of Wednesday, which is believed to have claimed 910 lives, with only 99 bodies so far recovered, hope the storm will abate this morning so that they can send another ship with video cameras on a robot to the scene.

Last night, after revealing that the ship had been discovered two hours and 40 minutes after the beginning of the search operation by Juoko Nuorteva aboard the Suunta, coast guard officials refused to disclose the exact position, for the sake of the bereaved.

Raimo Tiilikainen, commander of the Finnish coast guard search operation, said: 'I will not give the position because if it turns out to be a grave, there will be too many people trying to go there.' He said it was in the area south of Uto lighthouse, which he described as the 'Graveyard of Ships'.

The ship is lying on the seabed, facing east-to-west, on a slope, with the bow section at a depth of 54m (162ft) and the stern down 86m. It had capsised and is lying on its left, port, side. Mr Nuorteva and his team marked the ship's position with automatic navigation equipment to enable future inspectors to find the wreck.

Another ship, the Halli, will travel to the spot this morning and send down the robot with three video cameras, one colour, one black-and-white, one low-light and a stills camera, in an effort to glean further information as to what caused the sinking.

Bodies recovered from the disaster have been taken to Helsinki University's medical centre, where forensic pathologists are trying to identify them. Relatives who fear they have lost someone in the tragedy have been asked to send items such as combs and toothbrushes, so that scientists can obtain cellular material to identify the bodies, using DNA testing. They have been asked not to visit the centre because of the trauma this would involve. So few of the missing have been recovered that there would be only a one-in-eight chance of finding loved ones.

Anatoli Jaanskelainen, the senior forensic pathologist, said that once his team believed they could put a name to the body, relatives might be asked to give a final identification. 'But we do not want to have people come and walk up and down lines of dead bodies, maybe a hundred, and in the end not even find their relatives,' he said. Mr Jaanskelainen predicted that more bodies, perhaps up to 150, would surface from the wreck. The furthest has been found 12 miles from the ship's last known position, where it lies with numerous other wrecks.

(Map omitted)

Baltic abyss, page 15

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Engineers / Senior Electronics Engineers

£25000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Henley-on-Thames, this...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project