Hungarian police officers arrive beside the Viking Cruises Sigyn hotel-boat as they investigate an accident on the banks of Danube River in downtown Budapest on May 30. Photo: AFP/Gergely Besenyi

Seven South Korean tourists died and 19 remain missing after a vessel capsized in the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary last night.

According to South Korean media reports, 33 Koreans and two Hungarian crew members were on the 27-meter boat “Hableany” (meaning “Mermaid” in Hungarian), which was cruising the scenic river in heavy rain, when it collided with another vessel at around 9:00 PM.

South Korean TV news footage showed repeated images of the scene at night, with river traffic, the lit-up parliament building, illuminated bridges and pouring rain. An official of the South Korean tour company that had arranged the tourists’ trip was also shown on TV, bowing and apologizing profusely.

President Moon Jae-in was briefed on the incident and an inter-agency response team has been set up by the Foreign Ministry, Yonhap news agency reported. The South Korean embassy in Budapest is coordinating with the rescue efforts of local emergency services.

A search is reportedly still underway for survivors, but with the vessel having foundered in an easily accessibly river in a well-lit city center – factors which would enable rescue efforts – the outlook may be grim

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