A team of 25 South Korean rescue workers is on its way to Budapest on Thursday following the fatal boat accident that killed at least seven South Korean tourists.
Also making their way to Budapest are family members and the South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa to oversee the search and rescue operation.
The rescue team comprises fire, navy, and coast guard workers. Some members were involved in the rescue operations for the 2014 South Korean ferry disaster that killed over 300 people in one of the country’s worst maritime accidents.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa met with Hungarian Ambassador to South Korea Mozes Csoma before her departure, to ask the Hungarian government to assist the victims’ relatives.
Meanwhile, the South Korean crisis management team has arrived in Budapest.
Speaking to journalists at the Budapest airport, the secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Crisis Management Division, Oh Sai Juengh said, “The most important emphasis of our government is the protection of Korean nationals overseas.”
Oh continued, “Our Korean government has around 100 biggest policies, and the protection of Korean nationals overseas is the 10th biggest policy.”
On Wednesday during an evening downpour, the Hungarian sightseeing boat collided with a larger Viking cruise ship on the Danube River in Budapest. The smaller tour boat carrying 33 South Koreans sank within a matter of seconds.
On board the sunken vessel were 30 tourists, two guides, and a photographer on a package tour of Europe.
While no one on board the Viking cruise ship was injured, officials in Seoul said at least seven South Korean tourists are confirmed dead.
Nineteen others and two Hungarian crew members—the captain and his assistant—are still missing.
A 6-year-old Korean girl was on board the capsized ship. Her status remains unclear, as her name is not on the survivors’ list provided by the travel agency.
Officials said none of the tourists were wearing life jackets. Hungarian police have launched a criminal investigation into the maritime collision.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press