Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
1.8 An early Mistake - the Ramp was closed when the 'Estonia' sank
At its second meeting at Tallinn on 17 October 1994 the Commission reviewed new information available as a result of new video films taken of the wreck on 9 October32 and confirmed in an Interim Report no. 2 (7), signed by Meister, Forssberg and Lehtola, that
1. The visor was lost under way (between Tallinn/Stockholm).
2. Water entered the car deck at the forward ramp.
The visor was officially still missing at this time and it had evidently not been inspected, when the Commission announced the above two statements!
The visor was reportedly found the next day 18 October 1994 1.14 but no evidence exist that such was the case. A stability calculation with water on the car deck in the superstructure >2 meters above the waterline had not been done either 1.15 to establish what happens with water in the superstructure on top of a watertight hull on which the whole ferry is floating.
At the meeting at Tallinn the Commission questioned surviving crewmembers (very bad sound recordings of the hearings exist), i.a. AB Linde, who stated that he had jumped into the sea, when the ship was on the side and that he had reached a raft, which was close to the bow at about 01.30 hrs. He could see that the visor was missing.33
He could also see that the ramp was closed (8).
Linde was asked to repeat the latter statement in front of the Commission. Karppinen, who led the questioning, then quickly changed the subject and started asking Linde, if the glass windows in the port, then upper, undamaged side (the ship was listing 90 degrees) of the deck house were intact or damaged, when the ship sank. Evidently Linde had seen these windows - he was walking on them at 01.30 hrs - and some persons almost stepped through them to fall into the ship!
The Final Report (5) does not record Linde's statement that the ramp protecting the superstructure was closed before the ship (bow) sank. In the official report (5) the ramp should have been wide open at this time. When you listen to the tape (9) of the questioning, you get the impression that the Commission tested Linde to state that he had seen the visor missing - the Commission was pleased - but that it was a big surprise, when Linde went on to state that he had seen the ramp closed! Evidently the ramp was found closed down on the wreck as seen on the video films of 1, 2 and 9 October, but if the ramp was seen closed at 01.30 hrs above the water on 28 September - when - and how - would enough water already at 01.15 hrs have entered the 'Estonia' through the bow opening of the superstructure to flood the hull and to sink her?
Later 1.17 the Commission changed the finding that the ramp was closed at this time - it had been pulled fully open at 01.15 hrs - to suit a modified, false course of events. Linde is thus a witness that can prove the Commission wrong and a dangerous person.
Later - at an unknown time and for unknown reasons the ramp had closed itself. How this had taken place the Commission could never explain in the Final report (5). The reason is simple - the ramp was never open!
32 RTw 10/10 0813 Searchers film sunken Baltic ferry HELSINKI, Oct 10 (Reuter) - Searchers used a remote-controlled video-camera during the night to film the wreck of the Baltic ferry 'Estonia' for only the second time since it sank. Strong winds and heavy seas have hampered attempts to find out why the ferry's bow door was ripped off in a storm on September 28, sinking the ship with the loss of more than 900 lives on a voyage from Tallinn to Stockholm. The Finnish coast guard vessel 'Tursas' managed to film the wreck during a brief easing in the bad weather on Sunday night and Monday morning. The 'Tursas' and an Estonian vessel also scanned the Baltic seabed with sonar underwater location devices. They did not find the visor-shaped bow door, which was raised and lowered to allow vehicles on and off the ferry. But Kari Lehtola, a Finnish member of the board investigating the disaster, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) that metallurgists would be able to draw "far-reaching conclusions" from the video about why the door sheared off. "It is possible that thanks to the new pictures we can work out events even if we never find the visor," he said. REUTER
33 The same information 3/E Treu had given at three questionings - the question is, if it is true. There is information that the visor was still attached to the ship, when the list was >90 degrees, 1.4, 2.1 and Appendix 5. In the same raft as Linde were Sillaste and Kadak (33).