I never heard about the Kurkse Tragedy until I saw this film on Delfi.ee marking the 20th anniversary. 14 Estonian soldiers died while swimming across a narrow strait in unfavorable weather conditions.
When looking at this tragedy it is hard not to get surprised by the reckless behavior of the soldiers and their commanding officers. So many mistakes were made like not knowing the geography, not checking the weather, using improper techniques, not having any safety measures etc. The film gives the impression of an unhealthy and unprofessional macho-culture, and although the lieutenant in charge was later punished for negligence there clearly was more at play than individual incompetence. Accidents like this don’t happen without several breaches in the organizational structure that surround the training of soldiers. I sure hope that the procedures for exercise planning have improved in Estonia since this tragedy.
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