Captain of second boat detained over Budapest river accident

People watch a military minesweeper at a Margaret Bridge pier, as operations get under way to recover the capsized boat.
People watch a military minesweeper at a Margaret Bridge pier, as operations get under way to recover the capsized boat.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BUDAPEST (AFP) - Hungarian police said on Thursday (May 30) they had detained the captain of a vessel that collided with another sightseeing boat on a busy stretch of the Danube river, resulting in the deaths of at least seven South Korean tourists with 21 others still missing.

"The Ukrainian captain of the cruise ship was questioned as a suspect by investigators in relation to 'endangering waterborne traffic resulting in mulitple deaths'," police said in a statement.

"After being questioned, 64-year-old Yuriy C, a resident of Odessa, was detained and a request for his arrest has been made," the statement added.

The suspect was the captain of the 135m-long, four-storey Viking Sigyn "longship", which collided with the 26-metre Mermaid at 21.05 local time on Wednesday evening (5am on Thursday, Singapore time).

The Mermaid capsized in a matter of seconds after the collision.

Those missing include two Hungarian crew members.

Seven people were rescued after the collision and taken to hospital.

 

On Thursday, the police launched a criminal investigation into the incident for "criminal negligence on public waterways".