The memorial of the Hableany ship catastrophe – Photo: MTI

Memorial to victims of Danube boat collision inaugurated

A memorial to victims of the deadly boat collision on the River Danube which took the lives of many South Korean tourists was inaugurated on Monday at Margaret Bridge, marking the second anniversary of the disaster.

The Viking Sigyn cruise ship collided with the Hableany sightseeing boat which had 33 South Korean tourists on board and a crew of two Hungarians. Seven tourists were rescued from the water after the collision and the rest died. One of the bodies has not been recovered.

At the event, Korea’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jongmoon expressed thanks to the Hungarian government, the authorities and the Hungarian people for their efforts to find the victims, and for the many prayers for the victims.

In the recent period, the pandemic prevented victims’ family members from visiting the sight, which has caused them added sorrow, he said. Choi expressed hope that a court procedure launched in connection with the collision would bring them comfort, and that after the pandemic they would be able to travel to Budapest for the third anniversary.

Choi said it was important to find the body of the tourist who was not recovered so that the remains may be returned to the family.

Foreign Ministry state secretary Levente Magyar said the tragedy had not caused any disruptions in relations between the two countries but had rather deepened them further to the point of friendship. He said the disaster had shocked all Hungarians, and he praised the “heroic efforts” of those involved in the rescue operations and the search for bodies.

He said the river disaster had been unprecedented in Hungary. The fact that the majority of victims were Korean guests made it especially painful, he added. He expressed his sympathy on behalf of the Hungarian government to the victims’ families and friends.

Engraved on the memorial, a seven-by-two metre granite block, are the names of the victims.

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