Salvage crews begin lifting Hungarian boat sunk in Danube

Tourist boat salvage in Budapest
Rescue personnel arrive as a floating crane salvages the wreckage of a capsized tourist boat after an accident which killed several people in the Danube river near Margaret bridge, in Budapest, Hungary, June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

June 11, 2019

By Krisztina Than

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Salvage crews began raising the wreck of a Hungarian boat that capsized on the Danube river in Budapest last month, killing 26 South Korean tourists and two Hungarian crew, Reuters TV reported from the scene on Tuesday.

The Mermaid sank after a large Swiss-owned cruise liner hit it from behind on May 29 as both vessels passed under a 19th century bridge in the Hungarian capital during heavy rain.

It was the worst disaster on Europe’s longest river in half a century. The bodies of all but eight of the victims have been recovered.

Divers inserted four straps under the sunken wreck to allow a huge floating crane to lift the boat.

It would be a very slow maneuver because the Mermaid was about 70 years old and it was hard to assess how much damage its structure had suffered during the collision, Hungarian special forces have said.

The captain’s deck appeared above the water by 0515 GMT, Reuters TV reported. Divers will now search for the body of the captain before continuing to lift the boat slowly in order to avoid breaking the hull.

There could also be more bodies trapped inside the hull.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than and Krisztina Fenyo; Editing by Robert Birsel and Paul Tait)

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