Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
1.41 How many rescued Persons were on the 'Mariella'? Were they 32? And how many were rescued by Helicopter Y 64?
According to the Final report (5) total 137 persons survived the 'Estonia' accident. According to the Jörle-Hellberg book (20), page 231, 140 persons were saved, i.a. 41 persons by assisting ships. According the Final report chapter 7.5.2 ships rescued only 34 persons so where did the extra seven persons from the sea come from? There is confusion about how many dead and alive were picked up and this is only due to the simple fact that the Final report does not tell the Truth. Actually - the Commission never investigated who were rescued! Nobody in the Commission studied the matter. There is no information in the archives of the SHK or anywhere that the question should be or was ever investigated. It would appear that the Commission was initially ordered not to study the rescue at all. All information in the Final report (5) about the rescue is therefore based on information without any evidence what so ever.
Helicopter Y 64 rescues nine Persons
An introductory example is from Swedish daily Aftonbladet 28 and 29 September 1994 (before media censorship started) how eight (or nine) persons were rescued by helicopter Y 64:
The next day the same story was repeated ... but it was only six survivors but still nine (including one dead) were brought to Huddinge:
"Y 64 began to rescue three people ... The helicopter winched down its rescue man (Kenneth Svensson) ... Although the winch wire failed, the rescue man managed to raise him (the first survivor). The next to be lifted ... was not wearing a lifejacket. He fell into the water just before gaining the helicopter. The rescue man jumped after him and succeeded in grasping him. The winch now failed totally and another helicopter, Y 74, was called upon to rescue them".
According the Final report Kenneth only rescued one person before he fell in the water and could not be winched up. According the Final report (5) now Y 74 with rescue man Olle Moberg came to assist. What does (5) have to say about Y 74?
It was a raft that is not described in the Final report (5) pp 84-89 life rafts "A"-"V", with two women and one man; Gullbritt von Payr, Swedish passenger, b.1946, Krista Kööp, Estonian crew member, born 751220 and the Latvian passenger Igor Gritsious, born 700116. These three survivors have never been properly questioned by the commission and there is no information about them at the SHK (act G42) or that they were rescued by Kenneth Svensson, but they reportedly arrived at Huddinge hospital at 08.22 hrs. Thus at 07.15 hrs two 'bodies' (rescued by Moberg) and three (known) survivors (rescued by Svensson) had been picked up by Y 74. But Y 74 was going to rescue three more people + a rescue man. Further according (5):
"At 0740 hrs Y 69 reported that it, too, had had to leave its rescue man in the water because of malfunction of the winch. ... Y 74 went to Y 69's assistance. A hook and harness were dropped to the rescue man and he was able ... to get up to the helicopter.
The three survivors from lifeboat "B" , pp 89 in (5) where the time of rescue is about 0400 hrs (sic) were two women and one man; the Swedish passenger Ulla Marianne Tenman, born 640327, the Estonian passenger Rait Pöllendik, born 730814, and the Estonian stewardess Helve Blumfeldt, born 511019. None of these three survivors have been properly questioned by the commission and there is no information from them at the SHK (act G42), but they arrived at Huddinge hospital at 08.22 hrs with the other above mentioned persons - total six survivors. If they were actually saved by Kenneth Svensson is unclear. Further according (5) about Y 74 rescue of lifeboat "B":
Thus two rescue men were injured when salvaging three persons from lifeboat "B". But Tenman has testified that there was only one helicopter and has not mentioned two injured and one uninjured rescue men. And even if Moberg rescued two 'bodies' it became only one later! What did they do with the other 'body'? Drop it into the sea?
According Swedish daily Aftonbladet 28-29 September 1994 Kenneth Svensson and Y64 rescued first nine (first version) and later (second version) six men from rafts before Kenneth fell into the water and then Y64 brought nine persons, one of whom were dead, to the Huddinge hospital very early the morning of 28 September. Kenneth was later rescued by another helicopter.
According to the Final report Kenneth Svensson fell into the water after having saved one person and later he assisted bringing up two 'bodies' and saving three women (sic) and three men from a raft at 07.15 hrs and a lifeboat "B" at 08.00 hrs.
Not at all - Kenneth rescued 8 or 9 persons and Y 64 brought them to Huddinge hospital early in the morning at 04.30 hrs. The hospital today cannot inform how and when injured people arrive and are registered. It was duly reported by the media. The next day the number of rescued people had to be reduced ... to the number brought in by another helicopter, Y74.
The above descriptions from the Final report (5) are thus pure misinformation by the Swedish Navy to hide that helicopter Y64 made an early flight before the official one, and saved a large number of people, including the twins Veide 1.46.
But this the authorities managed to censor by giving Kenneth Svensson a medal.
Captain Piht and store assistant Kahlev Vahtras were probably rescued by Y 64 and arrived at Huddinge but were soon after flown by Y 64 to Mariehamn and Utö (Y 64 was there) and then on to Turku, Finland to assist in the inquiry. Six men and the twin girls at Huddinge became later only six men ... which later became three other women and three other men ... who were saved by another helicopter coming much later to Huddinge and who could never be questioned by anybody.
The stories of the malfunctioning winches and rescue men falling into the water and getting injured against a lifeboat was an invention, so it appeared that Kenneth Svensson rescued people - not from Y 64 but from Y 74. The Swedish Navy naturally refuses to comment upon the above allegations.
But still errors were made - three extra survivors were still reported.
Officially 15 Persons were rescued from the Sea by the 'Mariella'
The error is clearly with the 'Mariella'. The Final report (5) chapter 7.5.3 states the following:
"Four open life rafts were winched down into the sea from the 'Mariella' In this way 13 persons were brought up from the 'Estonia' rafts. (two) persons found after 05.00 hrs were so exhausted that they could no longer move Two crew members of the 'Mariella' volunteered they managed to pull two persons they were winched up All in all, the 'Mariella' rescued 15 persons from the 'Estonia's life rafts.
Note the statement that 'four open life rafts were winched down' to rescue people. The 'Mariella' should officially have rescued 13 persons from the sea by winching down four rafts. Then two Mariella crewmembers went down in a fifth raft and rescued two other persons. Finally the 'Mariella' received 11 persons by helicopter and one person was later sent to Finland. Can we believe that?
In the Swedish daily Expressen of 29 September 1994 the Master of the 'Mariella', Captain Thörnroos (interviewed by Eva Gussarsson) states that 17 persons were rescued from the sea and that 9 were put aboard by a helicopter. Mr Altti Hakanpää is also interviewed in Expressen and states that he was one of the 9 in the helicopter.
The 'Mariella' saved at least 24 Persons from Rafts in the Sea!
From what 'Estonia' life rafts did the 'Mariella' rescue people in the water? We have been told that the 'Mariella' winched down four open life rafts to haul up survivors. The Final report (5) chapter 6.3.12 states the following:
"Life raft "N"
This is all in the Final report (5) how survivors in rafts jumped into the three 'Mariella' rafts winched down and were saved? Assuming that 13 people were rescued from raft "P" by one raft lowered from the 'Mariella', 2 from raft "O" in a second raft lowered by the 'Mariella' and nine from raft "N" in a third raft lowered by the 'Mariella', the 'Mariella should have rescued 24 persons from the water by lowering three rafts and not 15 as stated in the Final report (5) chapter 7.5.3.
The Helicopter OH-HVG and Life Raft "Q"
The Final report (5) chapter 6.3.12 states the following:
"Life raft "Q"
Thus 15 people from raft "Q" should have been put onboard the 'Mariella' by helicopter OH-HVG. The Final report (5) chapter 7.5.5 states the following:
"OH-HVG (Super Puma)
According to the Final report (5) the 'Mariella' log book should confirm that 11 persons and not 15 people from life raft "Q" were put aboard the 'Mariella'. Evidently there exist no 'Mariella' logbook extracts in the SHK archive confirming the numbers of survivors on the 'Mariella.
The writer has repeatedly contacted the owners and the Master of the 'Mariella' to clarify matters, but they do not reply.
What really happened on the 'Mariella' 01.57-07.10 hrs
The writer believes the 'Mariella' rescued 18 persons from the sea (and that nine or eleven persons came aboard by helicopter OH-HVG).
Finnish commanders Jaakko Smolander and Heikki Hyyryläinen at the Helsinki HQ of the Bay of Finland Coast Guard section has in its report of the rescue informed:- The 'Mariella' rescued 18 persons from the sea. M/S 'Ministar' rescued one person from the sea. As stated above the Master of the 'Mariella' said it was 17. It should be recalled that 'Mariella' arrived at the rafts already at 01.57 hrs but waited for more than an hour before rescuing persons in distress!
Life Raft "Z" - Four Persons rescued by the 'Mariella' at 03.10 hrs
It would appear that the following four persons shared life raft "Z" (not mentioned in the Final report) and were rescued by the 'Mariella' at 03.10 hrs by jumping into a raft lowered by the 'Mariella': Eckard Klug, Swedish passenger, b 1954, Ture Palmgren, Swedish passenger, b 311213, Veljo Juuse, Swedish passenger, b 1970 and Daniel Svensson, Swedish passenger, b 1974. These are four Swedish passengers that the Final report (5) erroneously puts with other people into life raft "P". They say they were the first aboard the 'Mariella' - at 03.10 hrs!
Raft "N" - Seven Persons rescued by the 'Mariella at 03.45-04.25 hrs
The writer believes, based on media reports 29 September 1994 and records of the Swedish Board of Social Affairs (35) that only seven persons (five women and two men) - not nine or ten - were rescued by the 'Mariella' from raft "N" and that the following happened and should have been reported in the Final report (5):
" The Swedish woman (Karin Bergquist) swam to a raft (raft "N") and was helped on board by a man (Gunnadi Pärson) inside. Once on board she helped the (female) croupier (Paula Liikamaa) up, and the two women then pulled up four more persons (Vöösu, Mötus, Mölder and Kozareva). they struggled to drag on board a female Estonian shop assistant (Hele Mötus) and pulled her onboard. In addition to these three women (Bergquist, Liikamaa and Mötus) this raft contained a female Russian (Kozareva), an Estonian waitress (Tiina Mölder), another Estonian shop assistant (Timmo Vöösu) and an Estonian (Gunnadi Pärson) passenger.
The 'Mariella' reports to the 'Silja Europa' at 04.24 hrs that it has saved 14 Persons
At 04.24 hrs the 'Mariella' however reported to the 'Silja Europa' that it had rescued 14 persons. It were the 11 above reported persons and three unknown ones (sic). The Final report (5) 6.3.12 says that: 'a Russian man ..., a Swedish and a German passenger' ..., i.e. three unknown persons should have been rescued from raft "N" by the 'Mariella', but who they were is not stated. This writer believes the 'Mariella' rescued three other persons - probably Estonian crewmembers - from a raft that were later not reported. See below.
Life raft "V" - Two Persons rescued by the 'Mariella' at 05.15 hrs
Another two persons were rescued by the 'Mariella' crew at 05.15 hrs from raft "V": Urban Lambertsson and Arturas Tamachauskas. They were totally exhausted and had to be saved by 'Mariella' crewmembers lowering themselves to the raft. Lambertsson was working for Estline ashore and responsible for booking cargoes. He had a past in the Swedish Navy. He found protective clothing (!) in the raft that enabled him to survive. In view of the fact that 'Estonia' sometimes carried military cargo on behalf of the Swedish Defence forces, Lambertsson is an interesting survivior that has not fully explained his beeing aboard.
Life Raft "O" - Two Persons rescued by the Mariella at 05.35 hrs
'Mariella' then finally rescued two persons from the sea - raft "O" at 05.35 hrs - the Swede Ronnie Bergqvist and the Estonian crew member Erwin Roden. They jumped into a 'Mariella' raft and were hauled aboard.
At 05.35 hrs the 'Mariella' had saved 18 persons from the sea. And no more persons were saved that way. But only 15 persons have been identified by this writer!
Life raft "P" - Eleven Persons put aboard the 'Mariella' at 07.10 hrs by a helicopter
On raft "P" were 15 persons: Aarne Koppel, b 570224, Andres Vihmar, b 650121, Holger Wachtmeister, passenger, Larissa Skorohodova, b 491030, Tanel Moosaar, b 710429, Vassili Märtson, b 511222, Peter Järvinen, b 631018, Aulis Lee, b 660611, Paul Siht, passenger, b 1965, Altti Hakanpää, passenger, b 510216, Tomas Grunde, passenger, b 510520, Aino Lee, wife of Aulis, Maiga Järvi, b 440114, Lars Torsten Österberg, passenger, b 460812 and Mats Hillerström, passenger, b 680714.
11 (or 9) persons in raft "P" were rescued by helicopter OH-HVG and put aboard the 'Mariella' at 07.05 hrs. Eight were recorded in the OH-HVG log book: Aarne Koppel, Andres Vihmar, Holger Wachtmeister, Larissa Skorohodova, Vassili Märtson, Peter Järvinen, Aulis Lee, Paul Siht. Altti Hakanpää says he was with eight persons in raft "P" but his name is not in the log book. Apparently also Tanel Moosaar and Tomas Grunde were put aboard the 'Mariella'. The others in raft "P" were rescued by helicopter OH-HVD and put aboard the 'Silja Europa'.
At 08.10 hrs one survivor, Märtson, was flown away from the 'Mariella' to Finland.
According to the writer 28 persons should therefore have been aboard the 'Mariella' at about 09.00 hrs on the morning of 28 September 1994 - 18 rescued from the sea and 10 (11 with Märtsson) brought aboard by a helicopter (OH-HVG). The 'Mariella' no doubt informed the On-Scene Commander (OSC) - the 'Silja Europe' and the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) at Turku the names of all these survivors - 28 and that Märtsson had been flown away.
The 'Silja Europe' - Rafts "R" and "J" - Three extra Survivors?
The 'Silja Europa' - the On-Scene Commander - received allegedly first four persons in raft "R" by one helicopter (see table 1.41.3 below) and later received another person (Mr Tillgren in raft "J") + one helicopter crewmember by another helicopter. Later one Estonian crewmember swam to the pilot ladder and crawled aboard. Disregarding the helicopter crewmember there should have been six survivors on the 'Silja Europa'. Strangely enough Swedish radio announced already around 03.45 hrs that there were seven (sic) survivors on the Silja Europe. This must have been at the time the first helicopter had landed on the 'Silja Europe' and it seems therefore that another three persons might have been put aboard earlier. The 'Silja Europa' however arrived at Stockholm on 29 September morning with only six survivors. No police landed on the 'Silja Europa' to protect them.
The 'Mariella' leaves the Scene of the Accident
The 'Mariella' left the scene of the accident at 13.20 hrs on 28 September and arrived at Stockholm 23.55 hrs with, reportedly only 25 (sic) survivors aboard in lieu of 28 as assumed from above description! According (28, 20) two Swedish helicopters (see below) landed on the 'Mariella' in the archipelago of Stockholm and four policemen joined the ship to protect the survivors. The explanation seems strange - the policemen could better have joined the ship at Stockholm. And two helicopters? It is possible that three persons were flown away from the 'Mariella' prior to its arrival at Stockholm. The three persons were probably flown to Huddinge hospital in the evening of 28 September.
On 29 September the BNS (Baltic News Service) informed that total only 20 (sic) survivors were on the 'Mariella' at Stockholm - six Swedes (S) 13 Estonians (E) and one Latvian (L). The writer assumes that the BNS got the names when the twenty persons disembarked at Stockholm in the evening.86 The names* of 18 of the survivors had already been published by the BSN on a list timed at 16.25 hrs on 28 September (Mr Koppel and Mr Siht were not on the list). Why not 25 or 28 names were announced is a mystery. The 20/18* were:
Table 1.41.1 - Names of 20 survivors on the 'Mariella' at Stockholm 940928 according BSN
Thus five persons were missing on the BSN list. These persons have later been identified:
Table 1.41.2 - Names of 5 survivors on the 'Mariella' at Stockholm 940928 not mentioned by the BSN
Thus we know the names of 25 rescued persons on the 'Mariella' arriving at Stockholm: eight Estonian crewmembers, two Swedish croupiers and 15 passengers. The problem is that three extra survivors were reported on the 'Mariella' at 04.24 hrs.
Purser Andres Vihmare has informed that he met the 'Estonia's ship doctor Viktor Bogdanov on the 'Mariella'! It is recommended to ask the other eight Estonian crewmembers saved by the 'Mariella', if they met other (un-dead) Estonian crewmembers on the 'Mariella'!
The 25 rescued persons on the 'Mariella' were brought to the Söder hospital at Stockholm.
The 'Silja Europe' at Stockholm
According another list published by the BNS on 29 September there were 27 survivors on the 'Silja Europa' - in spite of the fact that there should only have been six according to (20). According to the BNS it was 24 persons in the above lists (thus persons who definitely were on the 'Mariella' - no. 130 Arturus Tamusauskas was not mentioned on the BNS 'Silja Europa' list). The other 6/1* are as per table 1.14.3. Only Aino Lee* had already been reported on the BSN list of 16.25 hrs on 28 September:
Table 1.41.3 - Names of six survivors on the 'Silja Europa' at Stockholm 940929
Tage Hellgren was alone in raft "J". Marek Kaasik swam to the pilot door of the 'Silja Europe' and saved himself. If there were three extra rescued persons on the 'Silja Europe', the names were not published.
The missing three Persons on the 'Mariella' and three Persons on the 'Silja Europe'
Officially the 'Mariella' rescued 15 persons from rafts, received 11 persons by helicopter and sent one person to Finland by helicopter. 25 persons arrived at Stockholm and we know their names. Everything seems in order. However, from above analysis we know that the Final report (5) is incorrect.
Easiest would be to ask the 'Mariella' the names of those who were rescued from the sea and arrived by helicopter, but strangely the shipping company does not reply. Three persons are not accounted for. There is the possibility that the three persons were flown away with the helicopters that landed later on the 'Mariella'.87
How many rescued were actually on the 'Mariella'? In SOU 1999:48 page 55 (26), i.e. the report of the Group of Analysis it is said to have been about 30 (sic) survivors aboard the 'Mariella'. A curious journalist 2003 should try to find out!
Two Helicopters land on the 'Mariella'
Regarding the two helicopters landing on the 'Mariella', Jörle-Hellberg describes it as follows, page 239 in (20):
"Two Swedish helicopters from the police were later performing a landing on the 'Mariella', when she Thursday evening had entered the Stockholm archipelago. Two Swedish police helicopters put aboard four police men to assist the 18 (sic) survivors and particularly assist them to escape the journalists waiting in port."
Note that Jörle-Hellberg put the number of survivors on the 'Mariella' to 18! while they were at least 25 or 31.
The drama (the assistance of the police!) aboard the 'Mariella' and what happened at the port of Värtan at Stockholm is described in (28):
"... Swedish police (probably from the SÄPO (secret service)) was flown aboard, when the 'Mariella' entered Swedish territorial waters. The police ordered all 25 (sic) survivors to be locked up in a separate area of the ship. They were forbidden to communicate with other passengers, even if many survivors wanted to have contact with them. The police and guards from the ship maintained strict control of the rooms with the survivors. If they wanted to go to the toilet ... they were escorted by the guards.
Evidently there are no records of any Swedish police questionings of survivors on the 'Mariella' in the SHK archive and the purpose of such questionings. More likely is simply that important crewmembers from the 'Estonia' were on the 'Mariella', like chief engineer Lembit Leiger and doctor Victor Bogdanov, and that they were flown off with the helicopters. As there were extra seats available one extra Estonian crewmember joined them - Tina Müür. They were probably flown to Huddinge hospital.
Then there is the mystery with 'Silja Europe' that informed that seven persons had been rescued early in the morning of which only four has been named.
The survivors were brought to two Swedish hospitals - the Söder hospital at Stockholm (from 'Mariella' and 'Silja Europe' and the Huddinge hospital (in a suburb to Stockholm) by helicopters. Evidently many Estonian survivors at these hospitals called their embassy at Stockholm for assistance. When the Estonian embassy staff according to consular principles tried to visit the Estonian survivors at the hospitals, they were turned away and the hospitals refused to name any Estonian in the hospitals! On 1st October the Estonian embassy thus issued a protest to the Swedish Foreign office:
"During the rescue operations many people of also Estonian nationality were brought to the Swedish hospitals. It is the duty of this Embassy to help them ... to provide immediate and exact information ... to the disaster commission formed. ... So far there has been very little assistance on behalf of the Swedish authorities to inform the Embassy about these victims in Sweden ... who might possibly be in Sweden still alive or even dead.".
Probably some of the missing Estonian crewmembers named above immediately called their Embassy for assistance to tell what had really happened. This aspect needs further research.
One reason for the refusal of the Swedish authorities to name the Estonian survivors at the hospitals was that the list of rescued Estonians in Sweden on 1 October 1994 was 'preliminary'. And no definite, proven list was ever produced. The hospitals still, 2004, refer to the Swedish Secrecy Laws that they cannot inform the public of any patient's arrival and departure. Thus many persons suspect that Estonian crewmembers with inside knowledge of the accident simply disappeared from the hospitals and never returned to Estonia.
To rescue persons from a shipwreck is normally a happy moment for all involved. The rescued person is 'born again' and is often adopted by the ship. The names are published - everybody is happy. But on the 'Mariella' the survivors seem to have had a very bad time. We do not know who the rescued persons were and the ship owner and the master of the 'Mariella' refuse to inform who were rescued. Same for Y 64 operations. The official accounts of the rescue in the Final report (5) are incorrect. One of the mysteries of the 'Estonia' still to be clarified.
How many were rescued by the 'Mariella' - 25, 28, 32? And who were they? And why don't the owners of the Mariella tell us who the lucky survivors on their ship were? And how many were rescued by the 'Silja Europe'? Six or nine? Because there is a big mystery how many actually survived. At least nine Estonian crew members were initially announced to be living - and later were announced to be missing 1.46! In order to end up on a list of survivors they must have been picked up somewhere. Were they later on the 'Mariella' and the 'Silja Europe'? And who were saved by helicopter Y 64?
86 Already on 28 September 1994 at 16.25 hrs the BSN had published the names of a limited number of survivors. These names are marked with an * in the tables in 1.41 and 1.42. Three crewmembers were noted as survivors (with their birth dates) but disappeared later or one was found dead: Avo Piht* (born 1954), Master - disappeared, Tiina Müür* (born 621021) disappeared, Kalev Vahtras* (born 510325) - later found drowned (dropped from a helicopter?). How the BSN on 28 September at 16.25 hrs could publish a list with birth dates of three persons declared as rescued and who later disappeared is another unexplained mystery. Six other crewmembers were reported as survivors but later disappeared: chief engineer Lembit Leiger, ship doctor Viktor Bogdanov, fourth mate Kaimar Kikas (and his wife Merit?), fitter Agur Targama, and entertainers/dancers (twin sisters) Hannely and Hanka-Hannika Veide. The latter six were not noted on the BNS list on 28 September at 16.25 hrs 1.46. On a BSN list of 940930 was also Tiit Meos (b 69), musician, and Ago Tomingas (b 56), shop assistant, reported as survivors. Meos was later found drowned. Tomingas is reported as not found.
87 The writers has met the Master of the 'Mariella' captain Thörnroos in 1998 but was then unaware of the fact that he might have saved more persons. Later attempts to sort out the matter per correspondence have failed - no replies. Something is strange.