Viking Sigyn Rammed Tour Boat After Hableany Moved Into Viking Path

Viking Sigyn Captain Arrested After Deadly Budapest Crash
Viking Sigyn Captain Arrested After Deadly Budapest Crash
Viking Sigyn Collision Danube River Budapest Hungary
Viking Sigyn Collision Danube River Budapest Hungary

Viking Sigyn Rammed Tour Boat After Hableany Moved Into Viking Path – On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at  2105 hours local time, Viking River Cruises river ship Viking Sigyn (see video below)collided on the Danube River near the Margaret Bridge with a sightseeing boat MV Hableany (Mermaid)   which  was  carrying 35 South Korean passengers in Budapest, Hungary.

Search and Rescue Operations

Search and rescue efforts began immediately, with several spotlights brought to the site and over 200 divers and medical personnel arriving within hours. Search and rescue efforts were complicated by the water level of the Danube, which had swelled significantly due to several days of heavy rainfall, high winds, and cold temperatures of 10 to 12 °C (50 to 54 °F).

The fast-moving water, reaching speeds of 9 to 11 kilometers per hour (5.6 to 6.8 mph), caused limited visibility underwater and prevented divers from searching inside the wreckage of Hableány to recover more bodies.

Rescue operations continue with seven South Korean passengers rescued by travelers on the surrounding ships, seven passengers were found to be dead and  21 passengers still missing. The collision took place during heavy rain with restricted visibility on the river.

Sunk Danube River Boat Hableany Mermaid
Sunk Danube River Boat Hableany Mermaid

The rescued passengers aboard Hableany had not been wearing life vests. All seven of the rescued survivors had been thrown from the upper observation deck. Many others were trapped on the lower enclosed deck.

Rescued passengers were sent to local hospitals, where they were treated for hypothermia and shock but most were later released. Several of the rescued passengers were found further downstream, including one at the Petőfi Bridge approximately 3 kilometers (2 mi) south; one of the recovered bodies was found 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) downstream almost 2.5 hours after the collision.

The Ministry of Interior announced that attempts to lift and recover Hableány during the first two days had been unsuccessful and that it was seeking new ways to search the lower deck for trapped passengers.

Divers so far have been unable to even approach the wreckage of the 27-meter (88½-foot) Hableany tour boat due to high water levels, strong currents and murky waters. A Hungarian military ship has been anchored at the site to help the salvage operation.

Viking Captain Yuri C. Odessa Arrested

A Hungarian judge on Saturday ordered the formal arrest of a Captain Yuri C. Odessa, 64,  from Ukraine, whose Viking river cruise ship Viking Sigyn collided with the sightseeing boat MV Hableany on the Danube River, sinking the tourist boat and leaving seven South Koreans dead and 21 other people missing.

Reports indicate Captain Yuri C. Odessa did not do anything after the accident, the police were not notified. The police were called by a passenger aboard MV Hableany 10, minutes after the collision.

Investigators seized material evidence on board the Viking Sigyn, then detained Captain Yuri C. Odessa on Thursday. In VI-VII District Prosecutor’s Office proposed on Friday the arrest of the detained captain, which was decided by a judge of the Central District Court of Pest on Saturday morning at eleven o’clock.

Captain Yuri C. Odessa is suspected of endangering water traffic causing a fatal mass disaster, which carries a sentence of 2 to 8 years. The judge ordered Viking Sigyn Captain Yuri C. Odessa formally arrested for 30 days. He said the captain could be released on bail — subject to him wearing a tracking device and remaining in Budapest — but prosecutors are appealing that decision.

The suspicion against Captain Yuri C. Odessa of Viking Sigyn is based on the fact that Viking Sigyn‘s staff should have had radio communications the tourist boat Hableany‘s staff, as Hableany had progressed. According to the Water Traffic Sign, the rear ship must communicate with the forward/next to it that it is about to overtake and on which side it is passing.

The data of the electronic navigation systems of Viking Sigyn recorded in the wheelhouse, proves that no attempt was made to make contact, Viking Sigyn did even give a signal to warn the sailors in its surroundings. “The substantiated suspicion is supported by the report from the scene, photographs, video recordings and more,” the court said, adding that the suspect must be available for authorities investigating the deadly crash.

However, following a review of CCTV footage from a nearby vantage point, Hungarian state police discovered that MV Hableány had tipped to its side while under the Margaret Bridge. The vessel had been moving towards the riverbank to prepare for disembarking and steered slightly left into the path of Viking Sigyn, which had been sailing parallel to Hableány.

About MV Hableany

MV Hableany was a 27-metre (89-foot) river cruiser registered in Hungary,  operated by Panorama Deck Cruises on the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary.  MV  Hableany had two decks and a capacity of 45 people when operating as a sightseeing vessel.  It was acquired by Panorama Deck in 2003 and had been used for regular cruises on the Danube since then. Two Hungarian crew members remained missing aboard MV Hableany.

Budapest is divided by the Danube into the hilly Buda neighborhood on the west and Pest to the east, home to the Parliament building. The Margaret Bridge is located near the Parliament Building, stretching more than 2,000 feet and connects the two sides of the city, along with a small island in the middle of the river.

This story is far from over, please check back for updates, as this cruise ship passenger death case and the likely subsequent court case unfolds. When and if the names of the dead are known, they will be added to the Cruise Ship Deaths database.

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Video: Naufrage à Budapest : un témoin raconte la collision | AFP News (English)