A memorial will be erected at the Pest end of the Margaret Bridge in Budapest to the victims of the crash of the Hableány (‘Mermaid’) river cruise ship that happened a year ago.
As the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó put it at a memorial ceremony at the scene this Friday, it was a tragedy of two nations: a cruise ship carrying Korean passengers admiring the night view of Budapest was swept away by a large hotel ship and it sank in a few seconds.
On behalf of the government, the Minister expressed his condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the Korean nation. “We close the victims in our hearts and never forget the day of the tragedy.”
The cruise ship sank in the water near the Margaret Bridge on the evening of May 29, 2019, after colliding with the hotel ship Viking Sigyn. There were 35 people on board the sightseeing boat, 33 South Korean tourists and two Hungarian staff. Seven South Koreans were rescued after the accident, and all but one bodies have since been found.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony pointed out that the city would take the necessary steps within its competence. "In addition to obvious human negligence and misconduct, the rules on shipping must be reviewed," he said.
“These are the moments when we feel the world is collapsing and we could do nothing about it. We can do one thing: we are trying to find truth in injustice,” he added.
He recalled that 33 of fellow human beings came to Budapest to admire the beautiful city, to relax, to have fun, and then to return home, to show the photos taken here, to tell their friends and family what they had seen, but most of them could never return home.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Hungary, Kyoo Sik Choe, recalled that many innocent people lost their lives in the accident, and the families who lost their relatives visiting Hungary have been living with this pain ever since. He added that the Embassy will do everything in its power to provide them with all the comfort and to ensure that the appropriate accountability and redress take place as soon as possible.
He said the relatives can’t be here to remember but he hopes it will be possible in the future when the monument is completed. To conclude his speech, he read a poem by a family member of a Korean citizen who died in the tragedy.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the participants paid tribute to the memory of the victims with their heads bowed, a minute of silence, and at the end, the Foreign Minister, the Mayor and the Ambassador jointly placed a wreath in front of a plaque commemorating the victims and then scattered white flower petals into the Danube in their memory.
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