Two dead, five missing after boat collision on Danube in Hungary

By Gergely Szakacs and Krisztina Fenyo

KOMAROM, Hungary (Reuters) - Two people were killed and five others were missing after a small motor boat collided with a cruise ship on the Danube River north of Budapest late on Saturday, Hungarian police said on Sunday.

Disaster response units, including 95 personnel, 25 vessels and drones were still searching for the five missing people along the entire Hungarian section of the Danube downstream from the site, police said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Budapest police, Soma Csecsi, said eight adults were aboard the small motor boat at the time of the collision.

The accident was reported on Saturday night after a man was found with a bleeding head wound near the main road by the river near Veroce, 55 km (34 miles) north of Budapest.

"Police talked to the man and from his initial communication they drew the conclusion that he was probably the victim of some kind of boat accident," Csecsi said.

The body of a man was recovered south of Veroce, while a woman's body was found further downstream near a bridge on the northern outskirts of Budapest, where police also recovered the damaged motor boat, he said.

He said a cruise ship that had been in the area at the time of the accident had been stopped in the town of Komarom, and police had found signs of damage on the side of the vessel.

Reuters saw the Swiss-based cruise ship Heidelberg moored in Kamarom with large scratches visible on the bow.

A group of Chinese tourists disembarked on Sunday afternoon. One of the tourists told Reuters he had not been aware of any accident at the time.

Police have launched a criminal investigation against an unknown perpetrator to determine the cause of the accident. The goal of the investigation is to find whether anyone is criminally liable, Csecsi said.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs amd Krisztina Fenyo; Editing by David Goodman and Susan Fenton)