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Captain charged over deadly Budapest boat accident

By AFP - Jun 02,2019 - Last updated at Jun 02,2019

Defence lawyers Gabor Elo (left) and Balazs M Toth talk inside a Budapest court on Saturday after the hearing of the Ukrainian captain of a river cruise ship that collided with a smaller sightseeing vessel (AFP photo)

BUDAPEST — The captain of a river cruise ship that collided with a smaller sightseeing vessel was charged on Saturday over the accident in Budapest that killed seven South Korean tourists and left 21 missing.

A Budapest court official said the Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn had been charged, but gave no further details. The captain’s lawyer, Balazs Toth, said the court had denied bail.

The 64-year-old was detained on Thursday for questioning a day after his vessel collided with the smaller Mermaid, carrying mainly South Korean tourists, causing it to overturn and sink on a busy stretch of the Danube.

He was questioned for “endangering waterborne traffic resulting in multiple deaths”, police said at the time.

Strong currents have hampered the search for those missing — 19 South Koreans, the second boat’s Hungarian captain and one crew member, preventing divers from reaching the submerged boat.

The collision happened on a popular part of the river, from where sightseers can view the city and parliament, which is lit up at night.

Larger river cruise boats travelling on the Danube between Germany and the Black Sea typically spend several days moored in the capital.

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