A collision between a Viking River Cruises ship and another boat on the Danube Wednesday evening has killed at least seven tourists from the other vessel and left another 21 missing, according to multiple media reports.
The collision took place Wednesday evening local time between the Viking Sigyn and a boat from local tour operator Panorama Deck in Budapest near the famous Hungarian Parliament Building and the Margaret Bridge.
"The Viking river ship Sigyn was involved in a collision with another vessel – a Hungarian tourist ship – on the Danube River in Budapest yesterday evening (29th May)," a Viking spokesperson tells Travel Agent. "Sadly, there have been reports of fatalities and we offer our heartfelt condolences to those affected by this tragic accident. There were no injuries to Viking crew or Viking guests. We have been and continue to cooperate fully with the authorities while they undertake their investigations."
Reuters reports that the two ships collided during a rainstorm late Wednesday that had left the Danube with high water levels, causing the Panorama Deck boat to capsize and sink.
“I am not inclined to say there is no hope, so I would rather say there is a minimal chance (of finding survivors),” a spokesperson for the Hungarian national ambulance service told m1 state television, according to Reuters.
CNN reports that the Panorama Deck boat had approximately 35 people onboard when it capsized and sank. The seven tourists who died were from South Korea, and none of them were wearing life jackets. Hungarian authorities have reportedly opened a criminal inquiry into the sinking, with the role of the Viking ship also reportedly under investigation.
According to NPR, video from the scene shows that the two ships approached each other as they passed Margaret Bridge, when the Viking Sigyn’s bow came into contact with the Panorama Deck’s rear quarter, sending it sideways. Rescue efforts, though hampered by continued foul weather, have been extended far south of Budapest.
Video from YouTube via NPR