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Danube Boat Accident

Just returned home from Budapest yesterday and am still in shock over the awful boat accident 2 nights ago. My husband and I took a Legenda boat tour at 8:15 last Sunday night......probably about 100 people on our boat......I never once even stopped to see if there were life jackets on the boat! I guess you get careless when you think they have been running these tours nightly for years and years. It was not raining and our boat launched from a pier right in front of the Marriott Hotel......they drove us down close to the Liberty bridge, turned around, drove back north past the Parliament Building and then turned around and took us back to the pier.....of course everyone was on the boat to get the pictures of the Parliament all lit up at night......just so sad that this happened. Does anyone know if they have closed the river to tours for the next few weeks?

Posted by
3961 posts

We were so sorry to hear about this tragedy. I was just looking back in my notes for our upcoming visit to Budapest. We have the information on the Legenda Tour. After hearing about the accident I also thought about life jackets. I haven't heard any further news since yesterday. Terrible loss.

Posted by
4418 posts

It's been a terrible week for tourist tragedies. This one must have been so difficult for you. I didn't read they had stopped tours, but did arrest the Viking captain (though I am not quite sure why when the description is that the tour boat captain veered into the cruise ship). I can only assume the Viking captain was moving too fast for the situation.
I actually don't see them closing tour boat traffic for 'weeks', unless the water levels are too high. As heartless as it seems, life (and business) goes on and I expect the river heights may have more of a driving factor than this tragedy....unless they are still focusing on the immediate area for body salvage. They think it might take some time to raise the sunken ship. I can't believe how fast that sunk....there would be little time to save yourself.
On the subject of life jackets, didn't they make an announcement when you were leaving the dock of where to find them?

Posted by
835 posts

Maria.....if they did announce anything about life jackets it got past me. I have taken a cruise before where you actually go through a drill as to where you line up for a lifeboat, etc in case of an accident. We did not do that!

Posted by
838 posts

Of the "video evidence" I've seen (exactly two clips, both taken from what appears to be the Buda side of the river), the Viking boat hit the excursion boat from behind. However, I haven't seen a pre-impact clip that discloses what the excursion boat was doing prior to impact. There will be more on this investigation as time goes by.
I'd be interested to know if the Viking boat was carrying passengers or was it enroute to turn around and head down river. It would seem unlikely, in spite of the rainy weather, that there would not be "point of view" video clips taken from the bow of the Viking boat if passengers were on board. The "aquavit terrace" - fully enclosed section of the bow on the Viking "Vigyn" long ship is less than 10 meters from the bow.

Posted by
492 posts

I believe I read both ships were going north at the time.

I was on a Viking cruise that departed Budapest, and went south (downstream, to Romania). The Viking ships dock south of Parliament (immediately south of the Chain Bridge, for those familiar) then head north to take in views of the Parliament building, after which mine then turned around to sail south; ships on northbound cruises (towards Vienna) sail past Parliament at night as well, and keep going. From what I can see in the videos, there were passengers on the Viking ship; another article I read about it quoted a passenger on board the Viking ship who witnessed it all. So I'd indeed have to imagine some passengers likely would have taken video. Though other quoted passengers mentioned they didn't even notice they'd hit anything until seeing people in the water - so unless they happened to be facing forward and just happened to catch things on video, they might have been too focused on views along the banks to have noticed something taking place in the water ahead of them.

Ultimately it's just terribly sad to hear about this. Heartbroken for the families of those on board the smaller ship. For short cruises like that, I don't think I've ever been through any kind of emergency drill. Perhaps just mention of where lifejackets are and such, but unless people had them on that boat sank so quickly I doubt it would have made a difference.

Posted by
4418 posts

@Jane, thanks for the clarification. I have had tour cruises like you....anything from actual lifejacket try ons to location announcements to nothing. I tend to have a subconscious awareness of their locations, but I grew up around boats and ferries so it is second nature.

I note on the bbc footage, there appear to be a lot of people on the Mermaid deck. I would have
hoped those may have survived, but with the current, it would have been a battle. It makes one wonder how even 7 survived....though it seemed a busy night out so other boats picked must have them up quickly.
I feel for the families. Articles say there were a lot of family units on this tour. How extra devastating that must be.

Posted by
3973 posts

Didn't passengers on a Viking ship have to be evacuated by helicopter a few months ago?

Posted by
6855 posts

I'd be interested to know if the Viking boat was carrying passengers

According to the article that Sam posted the link to, yes there were passengers on the Viking boat.

Posted by
18470 posts

There was also a Viking ship accident a few years back where the retractable wheel house was sheared off by a railway bridge in Nuremberg. That resulted in crew fatalities.

Posted by
2910 posts

We are in Buda-Pest at this moment. Of course this is terrible. I have never heard of anything like this before in Buda-Pest.

It's like a plane crash, folks. If you are involved, it's your end. However, let's keep in perspective. The number of non-fatal boat trips on the Danube in Buda-Pest for the last year is huge. 1 ended in tragedy. RIP for those who are dead. For the hundreds of thousands who DID NOT GET INVOLVED in a fatal boat crash, they had a great trip.

The only operative lesson may be "Do not take a boat trip in a driving rainstorm". We were landing at the airport at almost the exact moment of the accident. The rain was intense. Bad weather can change the odds.

Posted by
884 posts

We just got back from our Tauck Budapest to Amsterdam river cruise and were actually staying in the Intercontinental overlooking the Danube the night it happened. Lots of sirens around 9pm but didn't learn of what they were about until the next morning. The Danube is running very high and fast right now and we got rained on 3 of the 4 days we stayed. There is alot of river traffic with many small tour boats and more big river cruise ships in one place than I'd ever seen - we've been on the Rhone, Seine, Rhine and Moselle before this. Viking alone had 5 boats in port. The afternoon it happened we were coming back from a Danube Bend tour that ended with a small boat trip back to Budapest. We got poured on in Szentendre but by the time we got back to Budapest is was only a light drizzle. The Viking ship captain seems to be bearing the blame but keep in mind that those small boat operators don't need to know much to get a license to operate - an online test. We visited the Dohany Street Synagogue and the guide there said it wasn't at all surprising that this had happened given the volume of traffic and lack of regulation. So sad.

FYI - Viking wasn't done with us on this tour as a week later one of their other ships hit and damaged a lock in the Main-Danube canal bringing all traffic through there to a halt. It's still closed for repair. We got some slightly longer bus rides than expected and had to switch ships with the group making the tour the opposite direction, but we still managed to see all our sights plus several bonus sights. The Tauck directors and ship's crews did a fantastic job handling something completely out of their control. Considering other tour companies had to cancel the ends of trips for their customers we feel very fortunate. I have to wonder how Viking treated it's people affected?