NEWS
30/05/2019 07:37 BST | Updated 30/05/2019 10:13 BST

Budapest Boat Tragedy: Seven Dead After Sightseeing Vessel Capsizes On Danube

The river boat was carrying 33 South Korean passengers and 2 Hungarian crew members when it collided with another vessel on Wednesday night.

Seven people have died after a sightseeing boat carrying 35 tourists and crew collided with another vessel and sank in the Danube River in Budapest.

Some 33 passengers, all from South Korea, and two Hungarian crew members were on board before the crash on Wednesday night, close to the Hungarian parliament building in the centre of the city.

Rescue officials said seven bodies had been recovered. The sunken boat was located early on Thursday near the Margit Bridge.

A further seven people were rescued and taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia but in stable condition, said Pal Gyorfi, spokesman for the National Ambulance Service.

Dozens of rescue personnel, including from the military and divers, were involved in the search.

Reuters

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry later confirmed that 33 of its citizens were on the boat and said 19 were still missing.

It said the tourists were not wearing life jackets, but added this was customary for sightseeing boats on the Danube.

Strong currents have carried people far downstream, emergency rescue chiefs told state media, making it less likely for more survivors to be found hours on from the incident.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in said the country would work with the Hungarian government to investigate the cause of the accident, while the South Korean Embassy in Budapest are assisting Hungarian officials in identifying the dead and those rescued.

The boat that sank was identified as the “Hableany” (Mermaid), which is described on the sightseeing company’s website as “one of the smallest members of the fleet”.

It has two decks and a capacity for 60 people, or 45 for sightseeing cruises.

Mihaly Toth, a spokesman for the Panorama Deck boating company, said the “Hableany” was on a “routine city sightseeing trip” when the accident happened.

He told state television that he had no information about any technical problems with the boat, which he said was serviced regularly.