Hungarian police said that experts have concluded that the captain of a sightseeing boat that collided on the Danube River with a much larger cruise ship this spring was not responsible for the deadly crash that killed 28 people, including himself.
As we reported before, the small Hableany (Mermaid) tour boat collided with the Viking Sigyn river cruise ship on May 29 near the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest. Everybody except the crew members were South Korean tourists. Seven of them survived, but the remains of one missing female South Korean tourist has not yet been recovered.
Colonel Adrian Pal from the Budapest Police reported the results of the recently-closed investigation, which contained 11,000 pages of documentation and over 4,200 photos. Authorities have not released the name of the deceased captain of the Mermaid – cbsnews.com said.
Pal also denied media reports that the Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn, identified only as Yuriy C.,
had been drinking or was not at his post
when the collision happened on a rainy spring night, shortly after 9 p.m.
“No signs of alcohol or other mind-altering drugs were found“, Pal said and added that the captain was on the bridge at the time of the accident, and there are clear sound recordings proving it.
Yuriy C., the only suspect so far in the case, is under pre-trial arrest until November 30 at the latest. He is suspected of endangering water transport resulting in a fatal mass catastrophe and of failing to offer aid at the time of the crash.
The Ukrainian captain said many times in his testimony that he “simply did not notice” the Mermaid before the collision which happened after sunset near the base of Budapest’s famous Margaret Bridge.
Pal also said the river cruise ship’s technical equipment was working, and that the radar which would have warned his crew about the Mermaid’s proximity was turned on,
although the sound was off.
It was not clear why the sound was off.
This is probably because traffic on the Danube is so heavy that the radar’s alarm would be beeping constantly, Pal said, adding that it would have been hard to filter out the truly unsafe condition from other false alarms.
Police are also conducting a separate investigation into the possible responsibility of the captain and crew of the Viking Idun, a sister ship of the Sigyn, following the lead of the Sygin not far behind when the collision happened. Pal said police were trying to determine whether those aboard the Idun
also failed to offer aid to victims of the collision.
The Mermaid was raised out of the Danube by a huge floating crane on June 11. Some of the victims’ bodies were recovered weeks after the crash more than 62 miles downstream. The victims were honoured with a traditional Korean memorial service, more details HERE.
Prosecutors are reviewing the investigation to decide how to proceed with the case.