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7 Dead, 21 Missing as Hungarian Boat Capsizes on Danube


Police and fire brigade vehicles are seen on the Danube bank after а tourist boat capsized on the river, in Budapest, Hungary, May 29, 2019.

Search and rescue efforts continue in Budapest's iconic Danube River for the 21 people missing after a sightseeing boat capsized late Wednesday night after colliding with a much larger passenger cruise ship, killing seven South Korean tourists.

A total of 30 South Korean tourists, three tour guides and two Hungarian crew members were on board the double-decker boat dubbed Mermaid when it collided with a ship operated by the Viking cruise line during a heavy downpour in the Hungarian capital. Police colonel Adrian Pal says the Mermaid sank within seconds of the collision near the Parliament building. The wreckage was discovered hours later near the Margit Bridge, which connects the two halves of Budapest.

A spokesperson for Hungarian emergency services says the seven people who died were among 14 passengers found after the accident. The missing passengers include 19 South Korean tourists and the two Hungarian crew members. The Danube's strong currents, plus the rising waters caused by the heavy rains, are complicating the search for the victims, which has been extended far south into neighboring Serbia.

A rescue boat is seen on the Danube river after a tourist boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, May 30, 2019.
A rescue boat is seen on the Danube river after a tourist boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, May 30, 2019.

An official with the South Korean travel agency that booked the group tour says a six-year-old child was among the passengers, but her name was not on a list of survivors.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has deployed a large delegation of South Korean officials to Budapest to assist in the search and rescue efforts. Pal says a criminal investigation has been opened into the incident.

The Danube River has experienced a growing amount of boat traffic in recent years as both sightseeing and passenger river cruises have gained in popularity.