Fire and death at the Scandinavian Star: The cruise that was charged 159 lives 30 years ago without guilty

This is his honeymoon, he just got married and to celebrate him decides to take a cruise on the Danish and Norwegian coasts with his wife. It is April and the

Fire and death at the Scandinavian Star: The cruise that was charged 159 lives 30 years ago without guilty

This is his honeymoon, he just got married and to celebrate him decides to take a cruise on the Danish and Norwegian coasts with his wife. It is April and the landscape begins to be drawn in spring. Until the smoke has just darken it.

This is a trip with friends. They are athletes, young people and decide that the best way to enjoy is to embark for a few days together to relax and go out of party. The flames are denied.

This is a visit to your parents to baptize your newborn. Instead of the road, a cruise seems good choice. A different experience and a more calm trip. This is not this time, the fire has truncated it.

These are only three of the 495 lives -395 passengers and 100 crew - that the Scandinavian Star was in its interior on April 7, 1990 when several intentional fires saw the lives of 159 people in what the case prosecutor would qualify as " The crime of the century ».

A crime that, even today, 31 years later, still does not have a culprit and the documentary miniseries of Filmin Scandinavian Star, with interviews with survivors, ship crew, law experts and victims. "Even today I can hear the echo of my own voice among the smoke," details one of the travelers who survived, Jan Harasem, who recalls as his escape between vanished bodies.

But to reach that April 7, 1990, we must move to Miami at the end of 1989, its rich inhabitants and its continuous parties on ships. In one of them, Massalia, chambers were placed during one of those celebrations. The images showed that the ship did not have enough smoke detectors, the security doors barely worked and out of there in case of fire would be very complicated.

That boat, with the flag of Bahamas and more than 20 years surrounding seas, would end up baptized as Scandinavian Star when he bought him the businessman Henrik Johansen and his Vognmandsruten company to make trips between the Norwegian capital, Oslo, and the Danish city of Frederikshavn. A sale surrounded by suspicion, but covered by the fame of magnate entrepreneur and the capacity for the finances of Ole B. Hansen, CEO of the company.

Thus, 25 days before tragedy, the cruise made the route that separated Miami from the German coast to undergo a review. She even arrived with a crew of almost 100 people from whom only 10% spoke English, with salaries around 850 euros and contracted at the last minute. Only nine members were from the original massalia, there were 62 Portuguese, 15 Scandinavian, two Spaniards, seven Americans and a Brazilian.

12 days from the start of routes, accelerated by the company, the ship did not meet the quality standards. The review in the German city of Cuxhaven determined that the Scandinavian Star was not suitable to go out to the sea since the fire doors were not good, the magnets were broken, the lifeboats did not meet the rules ... he became ominous and the Travel would be commanded by Hugo Larsen, an experienced captain in Norwegian and Danish waters.

Ten hours before leaving, the problems grew up in the vessel with too many cars inside, bad smell, rats and huge queues at reception of people complaining because the crew did not take the name nor the exact number of people per cabin. A perfect chaos for what was unleashed at 1.45 at night.

The first fire went at that time and the customers themselves managed to stop it with blankets and towels because there was not even an automatic alarm. A quarter of an hour later came more fires that were extended by cover 3 due to the melanin resin coating, very flammable, according to the investigation.

The flames expanded by covers 4 and 5, cornering customers and crew in the restaurant and causing an unbroken flight between fallen bodies to lifeboats, which were not in a position to evacuate the occupants and the crew, who did not even know Act because he had not made the prior drill. The tragedy was already a fact.

To this it was added that Captain, Bruno Larsen, in a communication with the rescue team will affirm the following: "Yes, everyone is out of the ship ... unless we know." It was not true, while the crew left 160 dead. Among them, Erik Mørk Andersen, who was accused of provoking fires because he had three previous convictions for that reason. In 2013, a report denied it; In 2014, the charges were withdrawn, and the investigation that pointed towards a sabotage was reopened.

Seven years later, research remains open and the unresolved case while families expect justice. "It is impossible to separate rabies at this time," concludes one of them in the documentary.

Updated Date: 15 October 2021, 13:59

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