Hungary orders arrest of Danube cruise captain after crash | News | DW | 01.06.2019
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Hungary orders arrest of Danube cruise captain after crash

A court in Budapest has ordered the captain of a Viking ship be formally arrested over a boat crash that left seven South Koreans dead. More than 20 people remain missing.

Judges on Saturday ordered the formal arrest of the captain of a river cruiser that collided with a smaller tour boat, causing it to tip over and sink on the Danube.

The Mermaid sightseeing vessel was carrying 35 people — most of them South Korean tourists — when it capsized in the Hungarian capital late Wednesday. At least seven people have been confirmed dead and 21 others remain missing. 

The 64-year-old captain of the larger boat, the Viking Sigyn (pictured above), was detained for questioning on Thursday.

Watch video 01:38

Budapest – search for missing expected to last days

The court ordered he be formally held for 30 days, with the possibility of bail only if he remains in Budapest and wears a tracking device. Prosecutors objected to the bail option, but the captain's lawyers said there wasn't enough evidence to keep him behind bars.

The captain, a Ukrainian citizen, has denied any wrongdoing. Defense lawyer Gabor Elo said his client "committed no navigational error," and was "very sorry that he was involved in such an accident in which so many people lost their lives or are missing."

Read moreSeveral dead, missing after boat sinks on the Danube

It's not clear what caused the crash on a popular stretch of the Danube near the city's iconic parliament building.

Efforts to search for survivors and recover the wreckage have been hampered by the river's strong currents and high water levels. Authorities said they expected levels to start falling from Saturday.

Watch video 01:37

Hungary pledges thorough probe into fatal boat collision

nm/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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