Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Tourist boat capsizes on Danube, several dead

Rescuers and police officers inspect the River Danube Rescuers and police officers inspect the River
Patty Aguilar | 30 May, 2019, 10:55

A rescue boat is seen on the Danube river after tourist boat capsized in Budapest on May 29, 2019.

The boat was moored near the Hungarian parliament building and is said to have been hit by another tourist vessel before turning over on the river, in which there were strong currents after heavy rainstorms.

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".

There was a six-year-old on board, said Lee Sang-moo, an official of the South Korean travel agency that booked the group tour.

According to a South Korean embassy official, some of the passengers included children. Seven of the South Koreans were rescued, seven died and 19 were missing, it added.

"Police are searching the river throughout the entire length of the Danube in Hungary south of where the incident took place", he said.

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

The military and divers have been involved in the rescue effort following the accident, which happened at around 22.00 CET on Wednesday.

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Seoul planned to send a team of 18 officials to assist the Hungarian authorities in Budapest, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The Danube's flooding and currents made rescue efforts extremely hard, a rescue diver told the state broadcaster, with water temperatures ranging between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius (50 and 54 degrees F).

Boat registry Hajoregiszter.hu showed the ship, originally built in the Soviet Union in 1949, received a Hungarian-made new engine in the 1980s.

"It was a routine sightseeing trip", said Toth.

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

An Ambulance spokesman told state television that 14 people had been pulled out of the water so far.

Very Good Tour had said earlier Thursday in Seoul that it believed the tour boat was anchored before departure when it collided with the larger cruise ship, citing information from an employee at the scene.

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