A team of Hungarian and South Korean rescue workers labored round the clock to lift a sunken tour boat involved in a deadly collision with a river Viking cruise ship on May 29 evening.
At sunrise on Tuesday, rescuer workers started the operation to lift the sunken vessel—the Hableany (or the Mermaid) out of the Danube River in Budapest.
The task was grueling. Rescuers used a giant floating crane to slowly pull the Hableany out of the murky river. Water was still streaming out of the hull, as the boat was being lifted on to a barge at Margit Bridge, near the crash site.
A representative for the Budapest police, Kristof Gal said another four bodies were recovered from the boat when it was raised to the river surface. Gal stated that the identification procedure for the recovered dead bodies had begun and is under way.
Although not officially confirmed, it is believed that two of the recovered bodies were those of the Hableany’s Hungarian captain and a young South Korean girl.
The recovered tour boat was taken downbriver to the Csepel Island’s free port for police inspection with the help of experts, as part of their investigation of the crash, said the Budapest police representative.
Among those present to help with the police examination would be “shipping, nautical, and technical experts,” said Gal. “Experts from the prosecution office are also present,” Gal added.
Nineteen South Korean tourists and a Hungarian crew member have been confirmed dead, while eight people are still listed as missing.
Only seven South Koreans were rescued after the nighttime collision about two weeks ago during a heavy downpour.
Meanwhile, the captain of the Viking cruise ship was placed under arrest on June 1.
The Viking cruise ship that left Budapest less than 48 hours after the fatal collision with the Hableany, has returned to Hungary and berthed at Visegrad, a town north of Budapest.
Police said there are no plans to seize the cruise ship but they will examine it again.