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Operation to raise sunken tourist boat in Hungary under way

The lift is planned in several stages.

The sunk shipwreck surfaces during the recovery operation (Marton Monus/MTI via AP)
The sunk shipwreck surfaces during the recovery operation (Marton Monus/MTI via AP)

The wreckage of a tour boat that sank in the Danube after a fatal collision is being lifted out of the river.

A huge floating crane, barges and rescue personnel were seen working early in the morning at Margit Bridge in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, where the Hableany sightseeing boat sank on May 29 after colliding with a much larger river cruise ship.

The top of the Hableany, including what appeared to be the crushed roof of the boat’s bridge, was visible, as were life jackets floating in the boat’s hull.

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

The lift is planned in several stages, depending, for example, on the condition of the hull as the tour boat is raised off the river floor and also on whether any bodies are found in the wreckage.

Nineteen South Koreans and a Hungarian crewman have been confirmed dead, with eight people missing. Seven people were rescued after the nighttime collision amid heavy rain.

Rescue officials said preparations for the lift, including divers installing four wire harnesses under the Hableany, were nearly complete, with some technical and security details pending.

Efforts to search for the missing victims of the accident and to raise the Hableany have been hindered by the Danube’s high springtime water levels — which were 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.

Police carried out another inspection of the Viking Sigyn, which left Budapest less than 48 hours after the collision with the Hableany but was back in Hungary on a scheduled trip and docked at the town of Visegrad, north of Budapest.

PA

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