Eesti in brief - 2004-05-20

  • 2004-05-20
A helicopter that went missing in southern Estonia on the evening of May 11 was found May 17. The aircraft crashed for unknown reasons and the pilot died immediately, police said. A local resident accidentally discovered the wreck during a forestry inspection. The Robinson 44 helicopter disappeared south of Lake Vortsjarv when the pilot, Peedu Ventsel, was on his way home from Tallinn. Police are investigating the cause of the crash. Rescuers said the helicopter, which fell into thick forest, would have been impossible to find from the air.

Gunnar Graps (photo), the most famous Estonian rock musician and songwriter, died of a heart attack in Tallinn on May 17 in his apartment. Graps, who was 52, started his music career in 1964 and formed the first Estonian hard-rock band, Ornament, in 1973. Several years later, he formed Magnetic Band, which also played hard rock, and enjoyed enormous popularity in Estonia in the '70s and '80s. At the Estonian Music Awards 2004, Graps received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

An apartment in Tallinn's residential district was blown up on the night of May 16 (photo). Nobody was injured, but the explosion broke most of the windows in the house. It marks the third time a bomb has exploded at that location, 23a Pae Street, in the last four years. A woman was killed in the May 2003 explosion. Police believe there is no connection. The first explosions reportedly had to do with a conflict between criminal groups.

Tallinn has become one of the 17 cities to receive aid from the EU's Civitas II program that supports the development of environmentally friendly public transportation systems. The capital city will get a total of 2.5 million euros. Transport companies and the city budget will provide for the rest of the four-year project.

The most popular candidate for European Parliament is former Foreign Affairs Minister and MP Toomas Hendrik Ilves of the Social Democratic Party. About 11 percent of the respondents to the Emor survey said they would vote for Ilves. Reform Party MP Toomas Savi is second with 7 percent, followed by Parliament chairperson Ene Ergmaa of the Res Publica party together with Center Party's Siiri Oviir, whose rating is a little less than 7 percent.