Elements of the tragedy were at hand between Thursday and Friday night, when a Russian trawler was hit and sank. The 21-meter fishing vessel sank just under the surface tens of minutes after the emergency call.
- Just enough for the crew to put on a life jacket and go on a life raft, says Janne Röynänkoski, director of marine rescue.
- It wasn't time to put on decent clothes, but part of the crew was in relatively light clothing on a life raft.
Border Guard rescue helicopter Rajaheko 200's video camera shows how the surf is throwing a life raft from which the crew had already been evacuated. After the evacuation, the sea turned the ferry upside down.
The thermal camera video also shows how an Estonian helicopter landed on an oil tanker and the tanker crew members carrying a man on a stretcher.
Screenshot of Super Puma marine rescue helicopter from major accident exercises. Also in this accident a Super Puma helicopter flew.
Photo: Juhani Niiranen / HS
A northern breeze pushed the bottom of the life raft with two degrees of water, but fortunately the Liberian-flagged oil tanker was nearby and heard an emergency call from the VHF.
Within 20 to 30 minutes of the emergency call, seven crew members had already been rescued from a ferry to an oil tanker (MOB) boat and through to a tanker.
- An hour in two could have had more tragic results, says Röynänkoski.
Although the criteria for the storm were not met, surfing made rescue difficult.
The Tallinn Maritime Rescue Center received an emergency call and asked the Border Guard units from Finland to assist. The automatic satellite-based emergency call had also come to Finland.
Marine rescuers had to be prepared for the worst: the need to look for crew members to steal water.
The Rajaheko 200 helicopter took about an hour to reach the ship's sinking point. From Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, air travel around the Gulf of Finland is fast, and during the middle of the night it takes the most time to get the crew on board.
The patrol vessel Turva and the patrol boat of the Porvoo Coast Guard Station also came to the sinking site. There was another helicopter in Turku ready for departure.
In addition to the pilots, the helicopter included a surface rescuer and a paramedic. According to the patient's assessment of the paramedic, the two most injured were flown to Meilahti Hospital and the remaining five were taken by Estonian helicopter to Tallinn.
Two Russian citizens who have come to Finland have been admitted to the hospital on Friday, Röynänkoski says.
According to Röynänkoski, it is very rare for a professional ship to sink.
- It doesn't happen every year. And it is also exceptional that there were seven crews. Every now and then, pleasure boats sink near the beach.
The venue was 20 kilometers off the Estonian coast. The distance to Helsinki and Tallinn was about the same.
- A tight and hard place. They wouldn't have been able to do it alone, says Röynänkoski.
Rescuers' activities have been praised on Twitter.
- There have been no wedding conditions to work: hard surfing and sack darkness. Still, compared to the sea, tiny little people picked up for shelter from real distress. Great work @border guards @rajaheko @Maritime Guard! Thank you! rescue inspector Piia Manninen writes on Twitter.
Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo has also remembered sea rescuers:
- The @ border guard and the @Maritime Guard participated last night in maritime rescue operations in Estonian territorial waters. In a mission led by Estonians, 7 people were rescued from a liferaft. Thank you for your wonderful work! Many need cross-border cooperation. @rajavartijat