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Fatal collision: cruise ship captain in custody

The Ukrainian captain of Viking Sigyn, the luxury ship involved in the fatal boat accident on the Danube on May 29, is now in custody, according to an official statement published on police.hu, the website of the Hungarian Police.

The accident happened near Margaret Bridge, at night, under poor visibility conditions (photo: LexyK/Shutterstock.com)

The statement says that the investigators of the Budapest Police Headquarters interrogated the captain of the hotel ship as a suspect in the case. After questioning, 64-year old Ukrainian national Yuriy C. from Odessa was taken into custody. A suggestion to initiate pre-trial detention was also made.

"In order to examine the circumstances of the accident, the Budapest Police Headquarters ordered an investigation to involve judicial nautical shipping experts. The investigators carried out scene investigation and seized material evidence. Based on personal and material evidence gathered in the course of the investigation, a reasonable personal suspicion arises therefore the Ukrainian captain of the hotel ship was interrogated by the investigators as suspected of having committed the crime of endangering water traffic causing a fatal mass disaster," the statement reads.

As the BBJ reported earlier, the passenger boat Hableány (Mermaid) and the hotel ship Viking Sigyn collided on the river near Margaret Bridge, resulting in the sinking of the former. Some 35 people were onboard the capsized Hableány: 33 South Korean citizens and two Hungarian crew members. Thus far, seven people have been rescued from the Danube (all in the immediate aftermath of the accident) and another seven were found dead by the rescuers.

The police says that the search continues for the missing along the entire Hungarian section of the Danube south of the Chain Bridge.

According to news agency Reuters, Foreign Minister of South Korea  Kang Kyung-wha landed in Budapest today to assist with the coordination between the authorities and to get first-hand information about the situation.