Hungary boat tragedy captain already under investigation over earlier accident

2019-06-07 10:39

Flowers have been left by the river, as the search for the missing boat passengers continues, following a boat accident on the Danube river in Budapest. (AFP)

Flowers have been left by the river, as the search for the missing boat passengers continues, following a boat accident on the Danube river in Budapest. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The captain of a river cruise ship involved in a deadly collision last week with a smaller sightseeing boat in Budapest is already under investigation over another accident in April, Hungarian prosecutors said on Thursday, as the toll rose to 17.

After last week's crash, the 64-year-old Ukrainian captain of the larger Viking Sigyn ship was arrested on suspicion of "endangering waterborne traffic resulting in multiple deaths".

Hungarian press reports said the same man, named as Yuriy C., was being investigated over the collision of another Viking ship, the Idun, with a chemicals tanker near the Dutch city of Terneuzen on April 1.

"He is being treated as a suspect in Holland," the Metropolitan Chief Prosecutor's Office told AFP in a statement, citing information from the EU judicial agency Eurojust, but without confirming the incident they were referring to.

In a statement sent to AFP on Thursday, Viking said: "We can confirm that even though the captain of the Viking Sigyn was onboard the Viking Idun on April 1, he was not serving as the ship's captain at the time of the incident."

"We are unable to comment further while the investigations of both incidents are ongoing," the statement added.

At the time of the April collision, the Idun had 43 crew and 137 passengers on board. Several passengers were injured.

Dutch authorities are still investigating the circumstances of that collision.

Hungarian prosecutors also said on Thursday that the captain was suspected of "deleting data from his telephone after the collision" in Budapest.

The captain's lawyers could not be reached for comment on Thursday but said in a statement issued last Friday that he was "devastated" by the accident and insisted that he did not make any errors.

Meanwhile the death toll rose to 17 after the bodies of two more South Korean tourists were identified, leaving 11 people still missing from the occupants of the Mermaid sightseeing vessel - nine South Koreans and two Hungarian crew members.

The Mermaid overturned and sank on May 29 seconds after colliding with the Viking Sigyn on a busy stretch of the Danube river in the heart of Budapest.

Only seven people are known to have survived the accident.

Divers have been unable to enter the sunken boat due to the strong current in a river swollen after weeks of rain.

A barge carrying a crane powerful enough to lift the Mermaid arrived in Budapest on Wednesday but was to remain docked in the north of the city until the river level subsides enough to allow it to pass under several bridges to reach the accident scene.

Experts said the crane was unlikely to begin the salvage operation before the weekend.

The Viking Sigyn left Budapest with a new captain last Friday but Seoul has reportedly asked Hungarian authorities to return the ship to Budapest for the duration of the investigation.


Read more on:    hungary
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.