With bells and flowers, Hungary celebrates the anniversary of the Danube disaster

BUDAPEST, May 29 (Reuters) – With the tinkling of a bell and a crown thrown into the water, Hungary marked on Saturday the second anniversary of a boat accident in Budapest that killed 27 people, mostly locals. South Korean tourists, in the worst river accident in history. the Danube in a few decades.

The 135-meter (443-foot) Swiss river cruiser Viking Sigyn struck a 27-meter (88-foot) tourist boat called Mermaid, causing it to capsize and sink under a bridge during heavy rain on the evening of May 29, 2019.

“It’s still very strange to be here,” said Zsolt Sogor, a legal representative for the company that owns the Mermaid. “I am here because there are many for whom this day opens deep wounds.”

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After a sailor lowered the wreath into the river from a boat, those on board threw flowers into the water to remember the victims during the commemoration event, led by the Hungarian Ecumenical Church.

Of 33 passengers and two crew members, only seven Korean passengers survived. A South Korean tourist who was on board is still missing.

The survivors are due to testify at the next hearing in the trial, which began more than a year ago on September 21, Sogor said.

In November 2019, Hungarian prosecutors charged the 64-year-old Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn, identified as C. Yuriy from Odessa, with misconduct resulting in numerous casualties and 35 counts of failing to assist.

His lawyers said he was devastated but did nothing wrong. The captain faces between two and 11 years in prison if convicted.

The verdict is expected early next year.

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Reporting by Krisztina Fenyo; Written by Marton Dunai; Editing by Alison Williams

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