At least seven South Korean tourists were killed and 21 others were missing after a pleasure boat capsised on the flooding Danube in the Hungarian capital on Wednesday, police said.
The boat reportedly collided with another tourist vessel near the Hungarian parliament building, before turning over on the river, which has been flooding, with very strong currents, while a rainstorm enveloped Budapest, reports Reuters.
In Seoul, the foreign ministry said the vessel sank with 33 South Korean tourists and a crew of two Hungarians aboard, adding that seven of the tourists were rescued but seven died, and 19 were missing.
An emergency rescue team is among the 18 officials South Korea plans to send to Budapest, the ministry said in a statement, and it will offer counselling to victims' families.
A Hungarian ambulance spokesman said that 14 people were pulled from the water. Seven have died, with the rest suffering from hypothermia but stable.
A massive rescue effort deployed boats, divers, spotlights, and radar scanning to scour the river for several kilometres downstream from the accident site.
Journalists at the scene said they saw children's ambulances on the riverbank, showing that children were also aboard.
But the hours that have passed since the accident, soon after 9:00 pm (1900 GMT), make it less likely for new survivors to be found in the central Budapest area, as strong currents have carried people far downstream, emergency rescue chiefs told state media.
The National Ambulance Service mounted searches along a stretch of the river downstream from Budapest and was on alert along a section further south in Hungary, where all boat traffic has been halted.
A shipping expert told state television it was likely the pleasure boat had collided with a very large vessel that had sunk it very quickly.
The hull was found on the riverbed just a few hundred metres from its usual mooring point.
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