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2 dead and 5 missing after boat collision on Danube in Hungary

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Police say two people are dead and five are missing following a boat collision on the Danube River in Hungary.

Hungarian police received a report on Saturday evening that a man had been found with head injuries on the banks of the Danube near the town of Veroce, about 50 kilometers north of the capital, Budapest. The bodies of a man and a woman were later discovered nearby.

Hours after police began their search, they discovered a damaged boat in the water, which they towed to shore. They are still searching for five adults – three men and two women – who they believe were on the boat.

Police said they determined a river cruise boat was in the area at the time of the accident. They stopped a cruise ship with damaged hull near the town of Komarom, more than 80 kilometers upriver.

Hungarian public broadcaster M1 reported that the cruise ship, Heidelberg, is a 109-meter (357-foot) Swiss boat that can accommodate 110 people. No passengers on this boat were injured, M1 said.

The Danube at Veroce is about 1,500 feet (460 meters) wide and is at the center of an area called the Danube Bend, where the river makes a radical turn almost 90 degrees to the south. The area is a popular leisure and boating destination and lies on a route often used by cruise ships between Budapest and the Austrian capital, Vienna, about 230 kilometers upriver.

The fatal accident comes five years after at least 27 people were killed in Budapest when a river cruise collided with a small tourist boatsinking it in seconds.

The Hableany tourist boat, carrying 35 people, mostly South Korean tourists, was overtaken from behind by the much larger cruise ship Viking Sigyn under Budapest’s Margit Bridge in May 2019.

The Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn was last year found guilty of negligence leading to a fatal mass catastrophe and sentenced to five years and six months in prison. He appealed the decision.

Police announced on Sunday that they had opened criminal proceedings against an unknown perpetrator, suspected of endangering water transport and causing the death of several people.

A spokesperson for the General Directorate of Disaster Management told Hungarian news agency MTI that a group of almost 90 people from several regional disaster agencies was leading the search for the missing on land, in the water and in the sky.

Twelve boats and three drones are involved in the search, as well as two rescue divers, said Imre Doka.

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News Source : apnews.com

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