Tonu Ader, deputy head of the helicopter disaster investigation commission, said those in the helicopter could have hoped to survive if the emergency pontoons had properly activated upon impact.
"The helicopter would have remained on the surface of the water if the emergency landing pontoons had activated, at least partially. Considering the expert's preliminary information that the victims died from drowning, they could have hoped to survive, if the aircraft had remained floating," Ader told the Baltic News Service.
The official added that emergency pontoons do not activate automatically, but are opened only under the pilot's control. He did not mention why the pontoons failed to inflate, or whether this was the fault of the pilots.
Ader said that, according to preliminary information, the pontoons in the nose of the helicopter had been ejected on impact but failed to inflate. The pontoons located on the rear wheels, however, were not activated.