Friday 23 August 2019

Seven people dead, dozens missing after sightseeing boats collide in Budapest

Hundreds of rescue workers try to help at the bank of Danube River at Budapest downtown, on May 29, 2019. - (Photo by GERGELY BESENYEI / AFP)GERGELY BESENYEI/AFP/Getty Images
Hundreds of rescue workers try to help at the bank of Danube River at Budapest downtown, on May 29, 2019. - (Photo by GERGELY BESENYEI / AFP)GERGELY BESENYEI/AFP/Getty Images
Rescuers search for victims on the river bank early Thursday, May 30, 2019 after a tourist boat crashed with a river cruise boat, overturned and sank in River Danube in Budapest, Hungary, late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Peter Lakatos/MTI via AP)
A rescue boat searches for victims late Wednesday, May 29, 2019, after a tourist boat crashed with a river cruise boat, in River Danube in Budapest. (Peter Lakatos/MTI via AP)
A rescue boat searches for victims late Wednesday, May 29, 2019, after a tourist boat crashed with a river cruise boat, in River Danube in Budapest. (Peter Lakatos/MTI via AP)
Rescuers and police officers inspect the River Danube from a landing dock after a tourist boat crashed with another ship late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)
A rescue boat searches of victims after a tourist boat crashed with another ship late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)
Responders sit in a rubber dinghy preparing for the search of victims next to a landing dock after a tourist boat crashed with another ship late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. The boat capsized and sunk in the Danube River Wednesday evening, May 29, 2019, in Budapest, with dozens of people on board, including passengers and crew, Hungarian media reported. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)
A rescue boat is seen on the Danube river after a tourist boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
A rescue boat is seen on the Danube river after a tourist boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
A rescue boat is seen on the Danube river after a tourist boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Police and fire brigade vehicles are seen on the Danube bank after tourist boat capsized on the river in Budapest, Hungary, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Police and fire brigade vehicles are seen on the Danube bank after tourist boat capsized on the river in Budapest, Hungary, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Police close the Danube bank after tourist boat capsized on the river in Budapest, Hungary, May 29, 2019.
Police and fire brigade vehicles are seen on the Danube bank after tourist boat capsized on the river in Budapest, Hungary, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Seven people have been confirmed dead after a sightseeing boat carrying 33 South Korean passengers and two crew members collided with another vessel and sank in the Danube River in Budapest.

Rescue officials said seven bodies had been recovered.

Pal Gyorfi, spokesman for the National Ambulance Service, said seven people were rescued and transported to hospital in stable condition following the accident on Wednesday night.

National police spokesman Kristof Gal said 33 South Koreans were on the boat, after early reports mentioned 32.

Rescuers search for victims on the river bank early Thursday, May 30, 2019 after a tourist boat crashed with a river cruise boat, overturned and sank in River Danube in Budapest, Hungary, late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Peter Lakatos/MTI via AP)
Rescuers search for victims on the river bank early Thursday, May 30, 2019 after a tourist boat crashed with a river cruise boat, overturned and sank in River Danube in Budapest, Hungary, late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Peter Lakatos/MTI via AP)

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

The two crew members were identified as Hungarian.

A rescue boat searches for victims late Wednesday, May 29, 2019, after a tourist boat crashed with a river cruise boat, in River Danube in Budapest. (Peter Lakatos/MTI via AP)
A rescue boat searches for victims late Wednesday, May 29, 2019, after a tourist boat crashed with a river cruise boat, in River Danube in Budapest. (Peter Lakatos/MTI via AP)

South Korean president Moon Jae-in instructed officials to employ "all available resources" to support the rescue efforts in Hungary.

Mr Moon's spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said in Seoul that Mr Moon also ordered the launch of a government task force led by foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha to deal with the accident and maintain close communication with the family members of the South Korean passengers.

The sunken boat was located early on Thursday near the Margit Bridge, not far from the neo-Gothic Parliament building on the river bank.

Employees from the South Korean Embassy in Budapest were assisting Hungarian officials in identifying those rescued and the deceased.

A rescue boat searches of victims after a tourist boat crashed with another ship late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)
A rescue boat searches of victims after a tourist boat crashed with another ship late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)

Officials said searchers were checking the Danube for miles downriver from Budapest. The river was fast-flowing and rising as heavy rain continued in the city.

Earlier, the news website Index.hu said one of the people rescued was found near the Petofi Bridge, which is about two miles south of Parliament.

Responders sit in a rubber dinghy preparing for the search of victims next to a landing dock after a tourist boat crashed with another ship late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. The boat capsized and sunk in the Danube River Wednesday evening, May 29, 2019, in Budapest, with dozens of people on board, including passengers and crew, Hungarian media reported. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)
Responders sit in a rubber dinghy preparing for the search of victims next to a landing dock after a tourist boat crashed with another ship late Wednesday, May 29, 2019. The boat capsized and sunk in the Danube River Wednesday evening, May 29, 2019, in Budapest, with dozens of people on board, including passengers and crew, Hungarian media reported. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)

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

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.

PA Media

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