Hungary Unveils Memorial For 28 Victims Of Danube’s Boat Disaster


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy reporting from Budapest, Hungary

(Worthy News) – Hungarian and South Korean government officials have unveiled a memorial in Budapest to the victims of the Danube River’s worst boating accident in more than half a century which killed dozens of people.

The monument is located near the Margaret Bridge, close to the Parliament building where two years ago 28 people drowned, most of the South Koreans, in a deadly boat collision.

Two deputy foreign ministers attending the ceremony pulled off a white ribbon around the memorial, a gray granite block engraved with the victims’ names. “Let this monument stand here as long as Budapest stands! It will always pay tribute to the victims of the disaster, and it will be a reminder of the special relationship between Korea and Hungary,” said Levente Magyar, the Hungarian official.

Choi Jong-moon, his South Korean counterpart, thanked Hungarians for their prayers. “I still remember the footage from the night of the tragic event. Many Hungarian people standing on the bridge and prayed for the Korean victims, and they cried. It was very touching,” he stressed.

A reporter witnessed emotional scenes, too, with Hungarians burning candles and bringing flowers to the Danube embankment.

“This and the expressions of condolences from the Hungarian people have all helped us to cope with the loss,” Choi added. However, the deputy minister expressed regret that the pandemic has made it Impossible for victims’ families to visit the site.

THIRD ANNIVERSARY

He said he hopes they would be here for the third anniversary of a tragedy that raised questions about safety guidelines for shipping on the ’s longest waterway.

The disaster occurred on May 29, 2019, when the massive Viking Sigyn cruise boat collided with a smaller tourist boat carrying 33 South Koreans, causing that boat to sink instantly.

Just seven of the South Korean tourists aboard the Hableány (Mermaid) sightseeing boat survived. Two Hungarian crew members also died, authorities said. The remains of one South Korean tourist have yet to be recovered.

While thanking Hungary’s government and authorities for rescue and recovery efforts, Choi said it was “important to find the body of the tourist so that the remains may be returned to the family.”

The Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn has been charged with reckless endangerment of navigation, resulting in a fatality and 35 counts of failure to render assistance.

Choi said he hopes the court procedure would eventually bring some comfort to survivors. Magyar agreed. “The loss of our Korean brothers and sisters is entirely our own; their grief is our grief, their mourning is our mourning,” he said.

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