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Bodies recovered as sunken Danube boat raised in Hungary

Only seven people of the 35 on board the Hableany were rescued.

A crane lifts the sightseeing boat out of the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A crane lifts the sightseeing boat out of the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Rescue crews have raised a sunken tour boat from the bottom of the Danube River, shortly after four more bodies were recovered from the vessel which was involved in a collision with a cruise ship two weeks ago.

A huge floating crane placed the Hableany (Mermaid) on a barge at Margit Bridge, the site of the tragedy in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.

Nineteen South Korean tourists and a Hungarian crewman have been confirmed dead, with eight people still listed as missing.

Police spokesman Kristof Gal said although it has not yet been officially confirmed, the bodies of the Hableany’s Hungarian captain and a young South Korean girl are believed to be among the four taken off the boat after it was raised to the river surface.

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The bridge of the shipwreck surfaces during the recovery operation (Balazs Mohai/MTI via AP)

Seven South Koreans were rescued after the night-time collision on May 29 amid heavy rain.

Mr Gal said the tour boat would be taken on the barge to nearby Csepel Island, where it will be examined by Budapest police as part of their investigation into the crash.

He added that rescuers would also sift through the sediment deposited in the hull of the boat – which spent more than 12 full days underwater – in the search for more victims.

The search for the missing victims will continue along the Hungarian section of the Danube River south of Budapest.

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A crane places the wreckage of the sightseeing boat on a transporting barge at Margit Bridge (AP)

Efforts to search for the missing victims of the collision and to raise the Hableany have been hindered by the Danube’s high springtime water levels — which are expected to fall significantly over the coming days in Budapest — and the river’s fast flow, as well as near-zero visibility under water.

The captain of the other ship in the collision, the Viking Sigyn, has been under arrest since June 1, suspected of endangering water transport leading to a deadly mass accident.

The Viking Sigyn, which left Budapest less than 48 hours after the collision with the Hableany, is back in Hungary on a scheduled trip and docked at the town of Visegrad, north of Budapest.

Police said they carried out another inspection on the ship on Monday, but said there were no plans to seize the vessel.

PA

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