More bodies found as Budapest tour boat salvage work begins

  11 June 2019    Read: 1171
More bodies found as Budapest tour boat salvage work begins

Several bodies have been recovered from wreckage during the salvaging of a tour boat that sank in the Danube River in Budapest, the Guardian reports. 

A large floating crane, barges and rescue personnel were working early on Tuesday morning at Margaret Bridge, where the Mermaid sightseeing boat sank on 29 May after colliding with a river cruise ship.

Rescuers carried away four body bags on stretchers to a small police cruise boat waiting nearby as divers continued to search for more victims.

Nineteen South Korean tourists and a Hungarian crew member had previously been confirmed dead, with eight people still missing. Seven people were rescued after the night-time collision in heavy rain.

The lifting of the vessel from the water is planned in several stages, depending on factors such as the condition of the hull and the discovery of bodies.

The plan involves lifting the Mermaid with the floating crane and placing it on a long barge. The boat will then be handed over to police investigating the collision.

Efforts to search for the missing victims and to raise the Mermaid have been hindered by the Danube’s high springtime water levels, its fast flow, and near-zero visibility under water. The levels are expected to drop significantly over the coming days in the Hungarian capital.

The captain of the other ship in the collision, the Viking Sigyn, has been under arrest since 1 June, on suspicion of endangering water transport leading to a fatal 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 had carried out another inspection of the ship on Monday.


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