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Breaking: 7 dead, 21 missing after boat touring Budapest sinks

Breaking: 7 dead, 21 missing after boat touring Budapest sinks

The sightseeing vessel had at least 33 South Korean passengers when it collided with another vessel and sank in Hungary.

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Dozens of rescue workers searched the Danube River in downtown Budapest for 21 people missing after a sightseeing boat with 33 South Koreans sank after colliding with a larger cruise ship during an evening downpour. Seven people were confirmed dead, officials said Thursday, and none of the tourists were wearing life jackets.

Seven other people have been rescued, Pal Gyorfi, spokesman for the National Ambulance Service, said. They were hospitalized in stable condition following the accident Wednesday night.

Two Hungarian crew members are also missing.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in instructed officials to employ “all available resources” to support the rescue efforts in Hungary. Moon’s spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said in Seoul that Moon also ordered the launch of a government task force led by Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and for officials to maintain close communication with the family members of the South Korean passengers.

A team of South Korean officials left for Hungary on Thursday to assist with the rescue operations and support passengers and their families. Kang was also to travel to Hungary.

The ministry in a briefing Thursday said that the Seoul government will closely cooperate with Hungarian officials so that the rescue efforts can proceed swiftly and effectively.

The 33 South Koreans included 30 tourists on a package tour of Europe, two guides and one photographer, according to the South Korea-based Very Good Tour agency, which organized the trip.

Agency officials said the tourists left South Korea on May 25 and were supposed to return June 1.

Most of them were traveling with their families, including a 6-year-old girl. Her status wasn’t immediately clear but she didn’t appear on a list of survivors provided by the tour agency.

The travel agency said that the sightseeing boat was on its way back after an hourlong night tour when it collided with a larger cruise ship that caused the sinking.

Senior agency official Lee Sang-moo disclosed the identities of the seven rescued South Koreans — six women and one man, between 31 and 66 years old.

The sunken boat was located early Thursday near the Margit Bridge, not far from the neo-Gothic Parliament building on the riverbank.- AP

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