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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Life and Style
life
News
‘The Graduate’, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, was directed by Nichols in his purple period
people
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

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager