Budapest: The captain of a Swiss cruise liner was sentenced to 5 and a half years in prison by a Hungarian court on Tuesday over a 2019 crash.
Yuriy C., a Ukrainian national, was found guilty of negligence for his role in what has been called the deadliest shipping accident in Hungary's history.
His cruise ship hit and sank a smaller tourist boat on the River Danube in Budapest, killing 25 South Korean tourists and two crew members.
On the evening of May 29, 2019, the cruise liner Viking Sigyn collided with a smaller tourist boat called Hableany, Hungarian for Mermaid, near a bridge in Budapest.
The Mermaid sank in just half a minute, killing 27 of the 35 people on board. One South Korean tourist is still missing.
During the trial, the Ukrainian captain admitted he had "not seen the ship."
Several camera recordings proved the captain could have noticed the other vessel before the crash, the court found, either with the bare eye or on the ship's radar.
"However, the captain merely switched on the radar equipment, but did not use it at the time of the accident," the presiding judge said on Tuesday, according to Hungarian media.
The captain's lawyer argued that the accident was caused by the Mermaid, which had not given right of way to the larger cruise ship.
But the court found Yuriy C. guilty of "negligence posing a threat to water transport." He was acquitted on 35 charges of failing to provide help.
The ship's captain has been in custody since 2019, which counts toward his sentence. He can now appeal the court's decision.
In his closing remarks on Tuesday, Yuriy C. said he was "deeply sorry" about what happened. "The memories of this tragedy keep haunting me," he said.