Hungary police lift capsized tourist boat from river

Larry Hoffman
June 14, 2019

"The checks have been made, the wires are in the right place under the boat, they are connected to the barge, therefore the ship can be lifted soon". At least 20 people died in the May 29 accident when a larger sightseeing vessel collided with the Mermaid, a small boat carrying mostly South Korean tourists, on the Danube river.

The Viking Sigyn cruise ship struck the Mermaid just after 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on 29 May as both vessels passed under the Margaret Bridge.

It was the worst disaster on Europe's longest river in half a century.

Four more bodies were recovered as the recovery operation began and crews looked in parts of the boat for the last victims. One of the four is believed to be the boat's captain. Mermaid was a 27-metre (89-feet) double-decker river cruise boat with a 150-horsepower engine and had a capacity to hold up to 60 people.

Four more people are still missing, presumed dead.

Search and recovery efforts have been complicated by the Danube's high springtime water levels, its fast flow and near-zero underwater visibility.

"Among them are the only child of the accident and the Hungarian captain of the boat", Police spokesman Kristof Gal told at a press conference following the hoisting of the wreck. Crews possess struggled to assess how much atomize the 70-twelve months-historical boat sustained within the collision, salvage experts acknowledged.

Once out of the water and removed to a secure location, the Mermaid will be examined by the police who have launched a criminal probe into the cause of the accident.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said his government would co-operate with Hungarian authorities "to thoroughly investigate the incident".

The captain of the other ship involved in the collision, the Viking Sigyn, has been under arrest since June 1.

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