Seven people died when two ships collided on the River Danube in front of the Parliament building on Wednesday evening. One of the ships capsized and sank, an official from Hungary’s disaster management agency said.
Seven others were taken to hospital with light injuries, Pál Győrfi told a press conference.
The ship that capsized was carrying tourists, according to a police official. The report of a collision was received by police at 9.15pm.
Passengers registered on the ship were 33 South Korean and two Hungarian personnel. The identification of the victims was helped by officials of Budapest’s South Korean embassy.
A search of the river began with 96 firefighters deployed, a disaster management spokesman said. In the morning hours the search continued south of the city. The search is made difficult by high water levels and bad weather conditions.
Interior minister Sándor Pintér and state secretary for health Ildikó Horváth were at the scene of the tragedy. Horváth said three of the country’s largest hospitals were on standby to receive the injured. The ambulance service reported later that survivors, who had not suffered major injuries, were taken to the Honvéd, Szent Imre and Merényi Gusztáv hospitals.
The ship that capsized and sank, a river cruise boat, is believed to have collided with a large luxury vessel. Its wrecks were located near a pillar of Margaret Bridge.
A spokesman for the company owning the boat told reporters that it was undergoing regular maintenance. He said he had no information about any technical problems with the boat.
Meanwhile, the South Korean government set up a government-level operative team headed by the foreign minister to cooperate with Hungarian authorities and assist South Koreans involved in the disaster.