The Viking Aegir, operated by Viking River Cruises, smashed into a pillar of a bridge on the Danube River in Slovakia last week, injuring eleven people. The accident happened at around 3:40 a.m. last Friday, May 6, 2022. The accident occured near the village of Komárno, about 100 kilometers from Bratislava on the Danube.
The accident has not been widely reported. There are no reports in the U.S. media. We first learned of the incident when a reader sent us a Facebook post, which you can read here, by the Slovakian Minister of Transportation last Friday.
There are no reports whether the injured were passengers or crew members. Eight injured people were taken to hospital.
The minister made a reference to an alleged “sudden medical indisposition” involving the (unidentified) captain without any explanation. Perhaps the captain or whoever was at the helm had some type of medical issue? But, where’s the proof? Perhaps he or she was drunk? Or simply fatigued and dozed off at 3:40 in the morning? Who knows? There is no indication that the captain was taken to the hospital. There is a suggestion that details may be provided after an investigation.
To our knowledge, Viking River Cruises did not issue a statement or make comments on social media explaining what led to its ship inexplicably striking the bridge nor did Viking comment on the nature of the injuries.
There were just a couple of news accounts of the accident, in Slovakia and in the popular Germany blog site Cruisetricks.
You can see the Viking Aegir, in better days, in a video tweeted by a Viking cruise guest three year ago:
Viking longship Aegir said hello to us as it traveled North on the Danube while we were traveling South. Caught this moment from the Aquavit terrace on our ship, Viking Tir, while on Grand European Tour. #MyVikingStory pic.twitter.com/a2TkssJMxM
— Steve Garfield (@stevegarfield) May 24, 2019
Danger with River Cruising
The most dramatic disaster involving a river cruise ship occured three years ago when the Viking Cruises’ Viking Sigyn collided with and sank a sightseeing river cruise ship, the Hableany (“Mermaid”), in Budapest three years ago (in May 2019). The Mermaid quickly sank in aproximately seven seconds, killing 25 South Korean tourists and two Hungarian crew members.
Several crew members (who wish to remain anonymous) identified the captain of the Viking ship, who was arrested by the local police, as Yuriy Chaplinsky.
You can see video of the accident as the Viking Sigyn overtook and ran the smaller tourist vessel over as the two ships approached the Margit Bridge in central Budapest here.
The criminal trial involving this incident began in March 2020 and continued throughout 2020. The outcome of the trial had not been decided. The civil trial filed by the survivors and families of the deceased South Korean passengers began in Budapest in January of this year. A final result has not been decided.
In September 2016, another Viking River Cruises’ ship, the Viking Freya (right), struck a rail bridge, crushing the wheelhouse and killing two Hungarian officers who were navigating the river ship. The ship was on its way to Budapest at the time of the deadly accident. (125 people left comments to our article with many former Viking customers defending the inexcusable accident).
In December of 2017, the M/S Swiss Crystal river cruise ship collided with a highway bridge on the Rhine River near Duisburg, Germany, injuring 30 passengers.
On March 21, 2019, the Scylla Edelweiss experienced an electrical fire and collided with a cargo ship, the Forenso, on the Waal River in the Netherlands.
On April 1, 2019, a collision occurred between the river cruise ship, the Viking Idun, and a tanker, the Chemical Marketer, while the ships were sailing from Antwerp to Ghent. Four passengers were reportedly injured.
On May 21, 2019, an unidentified river cruise ship (some identified the ship as a Viking longship) with 183 passengers aboard, forgot to lower its wheelhouse and struck a bridge in an incident similar to the Viking Freya mishap. Fortunately, no one was killed.
If you are aware of other accidents involving Viking River Cruises or other river cruise ships please let us know.
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May 10, 2022 Update:
Eleven Injured as Viking River Cruise Ship Strikes Bridge in Slovakia https://t.co/kuOxMwvYjy @VikingCruises – how do you slam a river #cruise ship over 440 feet in length with over 150 guests into a concrete pillar that has been there for over 50 years? pic.twitter.com/1WGgBhcIWD
— James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) May 10, 2022
Image credit: Viking Aegir (top) – Dopravný Úrad via Transport Minister Andrej Dolezal / Transport Office of the Slovak Republic); other photos/video – respective Twitter users; Viking Aegir (middle) – TASR – Ladislav Valach via My Nové Zámky and Juzne Slovensko “Komárno: A cruise ship crashed into a bridge pillar on the Danube;” Viking Freya (bottom) – UPI via Blick am Abend.