The Latest: Officials visit Danube River tour boat recovery

AP
By Associated Press, 11 June 2019

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Latest on the fatal Danube River boating accident in Hungary's capital (all times local):

10:50 a.m.

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

After lifting much of the top of the Hableany (Mermaid) to the river's surface, rescuers could be seen adding another wire strap to the back of the boat as water was being pumped out of the boat's hull. Four bodies were recovered from the boat soon after its top reached the surface.

Rescuers plan to lift the boat unto a barge and hand it over to police, who are continuing their investigation into the May 29 collision between the Hableany and the Viking Sigyn, a much larger river cruise ship.

Nineteen South Korean tourists and a Hungarian crewman were previously confirmed to have died, with eight people still listed as missing. Only seven of the 35 people on board were rescued.

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8 a.m.

The bodies of four victims appear to have been recovered from the sunken Danube River tour boat being brought to the surface in Hungary's capital.

Rescue personnel could be seen early Tuesday on a barge next to the partially raised boat, carrying stretchers, each with a body bag on them. Divers, meanwhile, were continuing to search the hull of the boat in the early stages of the lifting procedure.

A huge floating crane is being used at Budapest's Margit Bridge, where the boat sank May 29 after colliding with a much larger river cruise ship.

Nineteen South Korean tourists and a Hungarian crewman are confirmed to have died, with eight people still listed as missing. Only seven of the 35 people on board — 33 South Koreans and two Hungarian crew members — were rescued.

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7:30 a.m.

The raising of the sunken Danube River tour boat is underway in Hungary, with parts of the boat already visible on the river's surface.

A huge floating crane, barges and rescue personnel could be seen working early Tuesday at Budapest's Margit Bridge, where the Hableany (Mermaid) sightseeing boat sank May 29 after colliding with much larger a river cruise ship.

Nineteen South Koreans and a Hungarian crewman have been confirmed dead, with eight people missing.

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.

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6:50 a.m.

Hungarian and South Korean rescuers started efforts Tuesday to raise a sunken tour boat out of the Danube River after a fatal collision.

A huge floating crane, barges and rescue personnel could be seen early morning at Budapest's Margit Bridge, where a sightseeing boat sank May 29 after colliding with a much larger river cruise ship.

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 Sunday that preparations for the lift, including divers installing four wire harnesses under the Hableany (Mermaid), were nearly complete, with some technical and security details pending.

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

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 on Sunday 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.

AP
By Associated Press, 11 June 2019

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