Death toll rises to 28 after Viking Danube collision

Rescue works are still under way on 5 June 2019 following a boat accident on the Danube river in Budapest. Hungarian police confirmed on 4 June 2019, the discovery of two more South Korean victims of a sightseeing vessel, which sank in Budapest last week, raising the toll to 11 tourists killed with 17 still missing. The Mermaid boat carrying mainly South Korean tourists overturned and sank last Wednesday, 29 May 2019, seconds after colliding with the Viking Sigyn cruise ship on a busy stretch of the river in the heart of the Hungarian capital. Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images

Following the collision between the Viking Sigyn and a smaller tour vessel the Mermaid on the Danube on Wednesday the 29 May, the number of recovered bodies has risen to 19, with nine people officially missing and presumed dead.

Official reports have said that the body of a female South Korean tourist was found near the wreck earlier in the week. The remains of one of two of the Hungarian crew members was found in the town of Erd, 21 km away from the scene of the crash.

Police also announced they had recovered two more bodies identified as South Korean men, one was found about 3 km from the collision site at the Margit Bridge, while the other was found another 5.5 km downstream.

The other remaining Hungarian crew member and eight more South Korean tourists are still missing and now presumed dead, only seven tourists are known to have survived the incident. All the casualties were from the capsizing and subsequent sinking of the Mermaid, 7 seconds after being hit by the Viking cruise liner it has been reported.

The captain of the Viking Sigyn was placed under arrest since Saturday 1 June. On 5 June Budapest’s Chief Prosecution Office identified the captain as Ukrainian national Yuriy C and it has come to light that he was on board a sister vessel involved in a crash in the Netherlands on 1 April.

A Viking River Cruises representative said,  “We are unable to comment further while the investigations of both incidents are ongoing.”

The captain has been formally arrested for 30 days under the charge of suspected endangering of water transport leading to a deadly incident. His bail is currently set at HUF15 million (USD52,770).

A spokesman for the search-and-rescue teams, Nandor Jasenszky, said that divers were setting up harnesses and lifting points on the sunken tour boat, with all operations expected to be concluded by 6 June, for the floating crane  Adam Clark, to be able to lift the boat off the Danube floor.