Mayday, mayday, Estonia, please.
September 27, 2004 11:43 AM   Subscribe

"Mayday, mayday, Estonia, please." 10 years ago tonight, 852 people lost their lives in the cold dark waters of the Baltic Sea. In the middle of the night the ferry M/S Estonia, headed from Tallinn to Stockholm, suddenly capsized and sank. Only 137 people survived Europe's worst maritime disaster since World War II. (more inside)
posted by mr.marx (8 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A joint Swedish-Finnish-Estonian commission said the accident was caused by incompetent crew and design faults causing the ferry's visor door to break lose in the hard weather. The commissions take on the course of events leading to the ferry sinking can be seen in a series of CGI animations: 1. The visor breaks lose. 2. The final yaw. 3. The mayday communication. 4. The ending. (Divx movies, other formats can be found here.)

The disaster is still very much an open wound, at least here in Sweden, home to 501 of the victims. And not everyone is satisfied with the governments actions and explanations. The conspiracy theories have thrived.
posted by mr.marx at 11:45 AM on September 27, 2004

I highly recommend William Langewiesche's article (a link to a preview, I didn't find the whole article online, though it must be out there) in the May '04 issue of the Atlantic.
posted by jalexei at 12:39 PM on September 27, 2004 [1 favorite]

Last year, I took a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki. All I could think was "Did they shut the door?" But then I had plenty of Saku lager and I didn't worry so much.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:40 PM on September 27, 2004

Just for the curious, the mentioned WWII disaster was actually the worst maritime disaster ever, the Wilhelm Gustlof with more than 7,000 estimated dead compared to 1,400 for the Titanic.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:49 PM on September 27, 2004

Found Langewiesche's article here. Thanks for the tip, I looked all over for detalied articles in English. This one looks excellent. And horrifying.
posted by mr.marx at 12:53 PM on September 27, 2004

That Atlantic article gave me nightmares when I read it a few months ago.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:06 PM on September 27, 2004 [1 favorite]

I remember the morning when the news came. I was visiting a national park here in Finland. Very quiet, very calm. The whole country seemed to slow down for a while.
posted by hoskala at 1:53 PM on September 27, 2004

Don't forget the Joola disaster where 1800 people lost their lives 2 years ago (26 sep 2002).
posted by nims at 3:32 PM on September 27, 2004

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