Published: Wed, June 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Four bodies recovered as Budapest tourist boat is lifted out of Danube

Four bodies recovered as Budapest tourist boat is lifted out of Danube

The bodies of all but four of the victims have now been recovered.

So far, 19 South Korean tourists and a Hungarian crewman are confirmed dead from the collision that occurred late at night and during stormy weather. Only seven people of the 35 people on board are known to have survived the accident, with the prospect of finding any more passengers alive seen as practically zero.

The wreck will be placed on a barge before the police take over the investigation.

Hungary's interior minister and a South Korean official have visited the accident site at Budapest's Margit Bridge, where rescue crews were using a huge floating crane to lift the sunken tour boat.

A rescue worker searches the inside of the sunken Mermaid sightseeing boat for victims during operations to pull the boat out of the Danube river in Budapest on June 11, 2019. Another four people are still missing some two weeks after the tragedy, the worst such incident in Hungary in 75 years.

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Hungary's special forces oversaw the operation to bring the wreck of the Hableany to the surface of the River Danube in Budapest on Tuesday. Early on in the operation, divers removed four bodies from the vessel.

The cruise ship struck the tourist boat on 29 May as both vessels passed under a Bridge. The Mermaid was carrying mostly South Korean holidaymakers when it capsized and sank on the evening of May 29, seconds after colliding with a bigger river cruise boat on a busy stretch of the river.

The lift is planned in several stages, depending, for example, on the condition of the hull as the boat is raised off the river floor and also on whether any bodies are found in the wreckage. Crews are searching for seven South Koreans and the boat's Hungarian captain. Seven people were rescued after the nighttime collision amid heavy rain.

Rescue spokesman Nandor Jasenszky said four wire lifting straps to raise the Hableany have been put in place by divers and that a few other technical and safety arrangements are still pending.

Hungary's water management office said Monday that the river's water level would fall faster than expected in Budapest in coming days.

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