The collision of Hableány and Viking that took place on Wednesday evening in Budapest was a rare accident considering its severity. There were but few instances that such collisions happened in Budapest or in Hungary – the last one was almost 70 years ago.

Index has prepared a compilation of the most serious ship collisions that happened in Hungary on the Danube and of those that involved Hungarian casualties abroad.

­Altogether 35 people were on-board on Hableány, the tourist boat that capsised on Wednesday evening.

There are still people missing, although the wreck of the boat has been found near Margaret Bridge on the bottom of the Danube.

The last ship collision of such a magnitude in Hungary happened decades ago. Exactly 65 years ago, on 30 May 1954, a steamboat nicknamed Pajtás tipped over near Balatonfüred. 22 people died, but the Socialist regime did everything to keep the tragedy under wraps.

Ship collisions on the Danube in Hungary

Index refers to the information gathered by MTI (Magyar Távirati Iroda, a Hungarian news agency) since 2007. All the accidents listed below resulted in personal injuries or even death.

  • 15 August 2007: a hydrofoil craft collided with a motorboat near the construction of the M0 bridge in Budapest, and the man driving the latter died.
  • 8 September 2007: two inland passenger boats headed towards each other collided in front of the Belgrád pier in Budapest. Eight people suffered light injuries.
  • 21 September 2007: a motorboat capsised at the entrance of the Francia bay on the Danube near Soroksár. Out of the eight people on-board, seven could be saved, while the eighth passenger was found dead.
  • 15 September 2016: two people fell into the Danube out of a boat near Szigetbécse. One of them died at the scene, while the other went missing.
  • 6 August 2017: a float collided with a motorboat near Százhalombatta and Tököl. A child was saved, but another person sank.

Hungarian casualties abroad

Regarding the most serious accidents that took place on the Danube, Index refers to Folyamihajó:

  • 5 September 1983: the MAHART Sirály I hydrofoil craft was on route to Budapest from Vienna, but it barely left Vienna when it barged into the Soviet Vilnius pusher-barge with a speed reaching 70 km/h. Two passengers of Sirály I died at the scene, and nine other suffered serious injuries.
  • 10 September 1989: one of the most tragic accidents on the Danube in the 20th century took place on this day. In very limited visibility, a Romanian passenger ship collided with a Bulgarian pushed convoy and sank in a few minutes. Over 200 people died.
  • 29 June 1991: an Austrian service motor vessel, March, collided with a Soviet convoy, Frunze near Hainburg, Austria. Three people were on-board on March, none of them surviving the collision.
  • 22 October 1996: the flooding Danube flung the Slovakian Ďumbier pusher and its craft to the gates of the Freaudenau power plant and then squeezed it through the gates. Only one crew member could be saved while 8 others died.
  • 2 October 2005: a kettle caught on fire due to a short circuit on the Romanian Olteniţa while it was on route to Bratislava from Budapest. Since the pump- and extinguisher equipment did not operate properly, the whole deck was on fire. 77 passengers and 44 crew members survived the accident; some of them jumped into the water while others were saved by the firefighters. However, one woman died; she burned in her cabin. Index writes that Olteniţa was supposed to retire that year.
  • 11 September 2016: another Viking ship was involved in the last recorded collision on the Danube. Freya was on route to Budapest from Nürnberg when it collided into a bridge near Erlangen. The ship’s mate and a sailor – both Hungarians – died at the scene, but no others were harmed.

featured image: MTI/Balogh Zoltán








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