Fifteen Still Missing After Budapest Cruise Collision
13 people have now been found dead after the passenger boat Mermaid collided with the cruise ship Viking Sigyn. Seven South Koreans survived and another 15 people are still missing.
Divers found a body in the wreck on June 5, bringing the known death toll to 13 in the collision that occurred on the Danube River in Budapest on the evening of May 29. Crews from South Korea and Hungary are now preparing to secure the vessel to prevent the loss of bodies before raising the vessel later this week.
Hungary's Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér said that he had taken control of rescue operations within half an hour of the collision, and the National Chief of Police, the head of the National Directorate General for Disaster Management, Budapest’s Chief of Police and the capital’s Director of Disaster Management were also present at the scene.
He said the cooperation provided by civil defense, the ambulance service and the public had been exceptional. “Police boats and volunteer assistance boats appeared along the whole length of the Danube within a very short time. Police patrols rescued several of the passengers of the boat, which sank in seven to eight seconds.”
The Mermaid is a 27-meter (89-foot) double-decker tourist ship, and aAll seven of the rescued survivors had been thrown from the upper observation deck.
Questions have been raised about the high amount of traffic on the Danube at the time and the possible tightening of water traffic regulations. However, the Minister declined to say more until the events had been suitably analyzed.
According to Pintér, sonar scans have provided information on the approximate orientation of the wreck on the riverbed. The Adam Clark floating crane boat, capable of 200-ton lifts, is expected to arrive in the capital on Thursday.
The Minister also said that in the interests of facilitating the rescue operation, the Ministry of Interior has convened the Scientific Council on Water, in which it is continuously consulting with academics and scientists from the Budapest University of Technology.
The 64-year-old captain of the Viking Sigyn, who is a Ukrainian citizen, was arrested last Thursday following questioning. The court has ordered that he be detained for a period of 30 days pending prosecution.