“The Hungarian authorities are doing everything in their power in the interests of the success of rescue efforts, the search for those missing, and clarifying the circumstances of the tragedy following Wednesday’s Danube boat accident”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Budapest on Friday.

Mr. Szijjártó met with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who arrived in Budapest specifically because of the accident. At their joint press conference, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted: “Major technical preparations are underway in the interests of bringing the wreck to the surface at the earliest opportunity, but the difficult and dangerous conditions are working against this goal”. “Divers investigated the scene yesterday, but were unable to get close to the wreck because of the extremely low visibility. The wreck is at a depth of six metres and the water level is continuing to rise, as a result of which specials methods and expert knowledge are required”, he stated.

“Thanks go to the people participating in the search and rescue operations, and to the members of the public and boat crews who assisted rescue efforts following the accident”, the Minister said. “We can expect a prolonged search operation, and investigative work is ongoing along the whole stretch of the Danube south of the site of the accident”, he stated. “We are also working in cooperation with the Serbian authorities, because it is not impossible that we will also have to count on them in the upcoming days”, he added.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister told reporters that Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér had entrusted head of the Counter-Terrorism Centre (TEK) János Hajdu to direct operations with relation to investigating the wreck. “We are also cooperating with the Korean special units that will be arriving on Friday, and the Austrian special diving unit is already at the scene”, he told the press. “Accelerated immigration and customs procedures are being performed with relation to the Korean group and their equipment”, he added. Mr. Szijjártó also said that the Hungarian authorities are in continuous contact with the Korean Embassy, and the consular services of the two countries re also working in cooperation. The Minister also spoke about the fact that an investigation has been launched into the circumstances of the accident, and based on certain pieces of evidence a suspicion arose with relation to the captain of the hotel ship, who was questioned and subsequently arrested. “The captain submitted a complaint with relation to having been placed under suspicion, but not the arrest”, he added.

“The Hungarians know what the Koreans are feeling now in view of the fact that the Verona coach accident, which was a source of major trauma to the Hungarians, occurred just two and a half years ago”, the Minister recalled. In the name of the Hungarian people, the Foreign Minister expressed his condolences and sympathies to the Korean nation, and particularly to the families of the victims, and wished the injured a speedy recovery. Ha also expressed his condolences to the families of the Hungarians listed as missing.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha thanked the Hungarian Government and authorities for their efforts. “We are now fighting to find all of those missing, in the interests of which we have also increased the search area”, he said. “We will be providing all necessary assistance in the interests of identifying the bodies found”, he added. Kang Kyung-wha said he had visited the site of the accident with his Hungarian counterpart, and is positive that the authorities are doing everything possible in the interests of finding those missing and bringing the wreck to the surface. The South Korean Foreign Minister expressed his condolences to the families of the Korean and Hungarian victims.