19 April, 2024
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Captain found guilty over 2019 Danube collision that killed 27

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The captain of a river cruise boat that collided with another vessel in Hungary’s capital in 2019, killing at least 27 people, has been found guilty of negligence and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison.

Hungarian Judge Leona Nemeth found the negligence of the Ukrainian captain, Yuriy Chaplinsky, caused his boat, the Viking Sigyn, to collide with the tourist vessel Hableany (Mermaid) from behind, causing it to sink into the Danube River within seconds.

The court acquitted Chaplinsky of 35 counts of failure to render aid. He may appeal.

The Hableany, carrying mostly South Korean tourists, sank after being struck beneath Budapest’s Margit Bridge by the much larger Viking Sigyn.

Seven South Koreans were rescued from the water in the heavy rain following the collision, and 27 people were recovered dead including the two-member Hungarian crew.

One South Korean is still unaccounted for.

Some of the victims’ bodies were found weeks after the crash more than 100 kilometres downstream.

The Hableany spent more than 12 days underwater at the collision site near the Hungarian parliament building, before being lifted from the river bed by a floating crane.

Chaplinsky had been in police custody since the collision, including being remanded to house arrest in Hungary since 2020.

Part of the time Chaplinksy has already served will count toward his five-and-a-half-year sentence.

In a final statement before the verdict on Tuesday, Chaplinksy called the collision a “horrible tragedy” and said the deaths of “so many innocent victims” kept him awake at night.

“This will stay with me for the rest of my life,” he said.

Three staffers from the South Korean embassy in Budapest were present for the reading of the verdict, but no South Korean family members of the victims attended the hearing.

The post Captain found guilty over 2019 Danube collision that killed 27 appeared first on The New Daily.

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