Drowned officers’ equipment was in order
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) said on Wednesday that there was no sign that there had been problems with the equipment of the two PPA officers that drowned off Estonia’s northwest coast on Tuesday. Still, there had not been a distress call.
According to the chief of PPA’s Haapsalu precinct, Andrei Taratuhin, the patrol boat was spotted by a local resident, who was out on the sea with his own vessel and who reported it to the rescue coordination center.
Taratuhin told the Baltic News Service that the man had seen a circling motor boat with nobody in it. “The rescue coordination center then tried to get in touch with the crew, who were known to be in that region, but failed. This prompted the first suspicion that the crewless boat could belong to the Police and Border Guard Board. Asking the caller for a more detailed description of the vessel confirmed the suspicion,” Taratuhin said.
He added that the officers had had all the required equipment with them, and that they were wearing semi-automatic life vests when putting out to sea. The equipment had been checked on the same day. Both officers also had radio sets with them that were in working order, but apparently did not use them to call in help.
An unmanned motor boat of the Haapsalu police was spotted a couple of kilometers from the shore at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday. The motor was running, but the crew was not on board. One of the border guards was found drowned near the boat at 7:45, and the body of the other officer was found shortly after at 8 p.m.
The victims were chief inspector Tarmo Kammer, who had served as a border guard in the Western district since 1996, and superintendent Renee Kark, who had worked as a border officer since the establishment of PPA’s predecessor, the Border Guard, in 1991. Kark had spent most of his time in service in the Haapsalu division.