Two people went missing after a pilot boat capsized in the Gulf of Finland on Friday evening, and rescue divers worked for eight hours to determine if survivors might be trapped within the vessel’s upturned hull. The bodies of both individuals were ultimately found inside the boat’s interior compartments.
Finnpilot CEO Kari Kosonen confirmed in a statement that two of the association’s employees were killed when pilot vessel L242 overturned. The boat was on its way to pick up a pilot at the time of the accident. “I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the [individuals] who died in the accident and thank all the people involved in the rescue operations,” Kosonen said.
At 1700 hours Friday, the Maritime Rescue Center Helsinki received notification that a pilot boat had capsized south of Porvoo Lighthouse, a prominent landmark east of Helsinki. The Finnish Border Guard dispatched boat units from Suomenlinna and Porvoo, along with helicopters from Helsinki and the patrol vessel Turva. Divers were also dispatched from the Central Uusimaa rescue department, and one Good Samaritan merchant vessel and two pilot boats arrived on scene to assist.
The Border Guard reported that heavy swells at the site created a challenge for the response team. The responders attempted to right the boat, but it sank during the righting evolution. After the sinking, divers searched the interior and found two bodies.
Police have launched an investigation into the two fatalities. Finland’s Accident Investigation Board has also initiated a parallel inquiry into the cause of the vessel’s capsize.