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Viking cruise ship captain indicted for reckless misconduct in Hungarian boat accident

Viking cruise ship captain indicted for reckless misconduct in Hungarian boat accident
Xinhua| 2019-11-29

Hungary Capsized Boat. In this Tuesday, June 11, 2019 file photo, a crane places the wreckage of the sightseeing boat on a transporting barge at Margaret Bridge, the scene of the fatal boat accident in Budapest, Hungary. Hungarian prosecutors say they have charged the captain of a cruise ship involved in a May 2019 collision on the Danube River in which 28 people were killed. (Balazs Mohai/MTI via AP, file)
BUDAPEST, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The captain of the "Viking" cruise ship, which collided with a Hungarian sightseeing boat in May, killing 28 South Korean tourists, was indicted in Budapest for reckless misconduct, the prosecutor said Thursday.

"The Ukrainian captain has been indicted for reckless misconduct in waterborne traffic leading to mass casualties and for 35 counts of failure to provide assistance," said the Public Prosecutor's Office of Budapest District VI-VII in a statement.

On May 29, hotel ship "Viking Sigyn" collided with tourist boat "Mermaid" near the Margit Bridge in the center of Budapest, according to the statement.

The "Mermaid" ship had 33 South Korean tourists and two Hungarian employees. Seven South Koreans were rescued, while the Hungarian authorities, assisted by South Korean divers, found the bodies of 27 victims. The body of one person had not been found despite extensive search activities for months.

According to the prosecutor's office, the 64-year-old Ukrainian captain was negligent, did not concentrate on driving the boat for a few minutes, neither did he maintain a safe distance nor inform his intention to overtake.

"Despite the fact that he had participated in proper trainings and had led several rescue exercises in April and May 2019, the defendant did not render adequate aid to the thirty-five victims whose lives were in immediate danger," the statement added.

The prosecution has proposed that the court sentence the captain to nine years in prison and prohibit him from his driving privileges regarding water vehicles for nine years, provided he pleads guilty at a preliminary hearing and waives his right to a trial, the statement concluded.

This charge in Hungary is punishable of imprisonment from two to eleven years.