Flowers are seen on the railing of the Margit bridge as rescue boats work on the Danube river at the scene where a sightseeing boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, June 1, 2019. Rescue operations continue Saturday, and Hungarian authorities predicted it would take an extended search to find the 21 people still missing after a boat carrying South Korean tourists was rammed Wednesday night by a cruise ship and sank. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

The Latest: Lower Danube water levels to help boat salvage

June 01, 2019 - 10:10 am

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Latest on the deadly tour boat collision on the Danube River in Hungary (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

Hungarian water management authorities say the Danube River's water levels are expected to fall quickly in Budapest in the coming days.

This may help efforts to salvage the wreck of a tour boat that sank last week after a collision with a river cruise ship. The sinking has killed seven South Korean tourists and left 21 other people still missing.

The General Directorate of Water Management said Saturday that the Danube will peak soon at around 5.9 meters (19 feet, 5 inches) and fall to about 4 meters (13 feet) by the middle of next week. It added that no rainfall affecting river water levels was expected in the next six days.

The sinking happened Wednesday night. Divers so far have been unable to even approach the wreckage of the 27-meter (88 ½ foot) tour boat due to strong currents and murky waters.


3:45 p.m.

Hungarian prosecutors say a judge has ordered the formal arrest of a captain whose cruise ship collided with a sightseeing boat on the Danube River in an incident that killed seven South Koreans.

The judge on Saturday ordered the 64-year-old Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn formally arrested for 30 days. He said the captain could be released on bail — subject to him wearing a tracking device and remaining in Budapest — but prosecutors are appealing that decision.

The Viking ship collided Wednesday evening with a smaller sightseeing boat carrying 35 people, most of them South Korean tourists, in the capital Budapest. Seven people were rescued and 21 remain missing.

The Viking ship captain has been in custody since Thursday.


2:30 p.m.

Lawyers for the captain of the river cruise ship that collided on the Danube River with a tour boat, killing seven South Korean tourists, say they dispute that their client made any mistakes.

A Budapest court is set to rule Saturday on the prosecution's request to arrest the 64-year-old Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn. Seven people were rescued after the tour boat sank and 21 are still missing.

Defense lawyer Gabor Elo said there are no grounds to consider his client a suspect in the case, arguing that the prosecution's request for the arrest was motivated only by the fact that the captain is a Ukrainian citizen.

Elo said his client, identified only as Yuriy C. in line with Hungarian laws, "is very sorry that he was involved in such an accident in which so many people lost their lives or are missing."


1 p.m.

A court hearing is underway in Hungary to decide whether the captain of a river cruise ship should be arrested after his vessel collided on the Danube River with a sightseeing boat, killing seven South Korean tourists.

Prosecutors are requesting that the 64-year-old Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn be arrested. The captain has denied responsibility in Wednesday's collision in central Budapest.

The smaller sightseeing boat was carrying 33 South Koreans and two Hungarian crew when it collided with the Viking vessel. Seven people were rescued and 21 are still missing.

Efforts to salvage the 27-meter (88.5-foot-long) tour boat have been hampered by the river's fast flow and limited visibility under water.

Specialists from South Korea and Austria are assisting in the salvage efforts being coordinated by Hungary's Counter-Terrorism Center.

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