Budapest, Hungary — The Viking Sigyn, a 95-room river cruise ship collided with a small sight-seeing boat, the ‘Mermaid’ carrying 33 South Korean tourists. Police confirmed Thursday that 7 people are dead and another 21 are still missing.
The 442 foot Viking Sigyn slammed into the smaller vessel while passing under the Margaret Bridge on Wednesday night. The Sigyn approached the Mermaid from behind and clipped its stern causing the small ship to spin and then flip over. Police reported that it only took an additional seven seconds from the time of flipping for the Mermaid to start sinking.
Video footage of the fatal accident released by police
According to police dozens of passengers, from a 6-year-old girl to a 72-year-old man, were tossed into the fast-moving current as the Mermaid capsized. A search party is continuing to scour the river for the missing passengers, according to authorities who spoke at a news conference on Thursday. Local reports say 3 bodies were found about 2 miles from the accident site. Hope is fading that there are any remaining survivors.
Attila Boros, a media officer with the National Police Headquarters, said that a criminal investigation has begun. It was the deadliest boating accident in the country in the past 75 years, a Hungarian official said.
The Hungarian police arrested the boat’s captain, identified as Yuri C., a 64-year-old from Odessa, Ukraine.
Viking Cruises was involved in another incident this year when the Viking Sky lost power during a storm . 479 passengers were rescued by helicopter before it was able to travel to shore under its own power. The cruise line is already facing a lawsuit from a New Jersey couple who say the ship “negligently sailed through notoriously perilous waters into the path of cyclone.”