Sunken Danube tour boat is raised in Hungary, 4 bodies found

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"Four people are still missing, and while it is still possible that further bodies will be found on the boat on later examination, the forces deployed in the search operation of the southern sections of the Danube have been doubled", Gal told AFP. Seven people were rescued after the nighttime collision amid heavy rain.

A huge floating crane placed the Hableany (Mermaid) on a barge at Margit Bridge, the site of the tragedy in the Hungarian capital.

The search for the missing victims would continue along the Hungarian section of the Danube River south of Budapest, Gal said. The accident had claimed 20 lives with eight people still missing.

People watch as a 200-ton lift capacity crane manoeuvres into position near the Margaret bridge on the Danube river, Monday, June 10, 2019, preparing to salvage to sunken shipwreck from the scene of a deadly boat accident in Budapest, Hungary.

Jasenszky said divers would search the boat for any bodies in the hull once it was close to the surface and inspect the wreck's condition.

Recovery efforts by Hungarian and South Korean teams have been hampered by high water levels in the Danube.

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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. The Mermaid tourist boat was carrying mostly South Korean holidaymakers when it capsized and sank seconds after colliding with a bigger river cruise boat on a busy stretch of the river on May 29.

Twenty-six of the tourists and the two Hungarian crew died in the worst disaster on the river in half a century. It is not known how strong the hull of the 70-year-old boat is following the collision, salvage experts say.

Rescue spokesman Nandor Jasenszky said four wire lifting straps to raise the Hableany have been put in place by divers and that a few other technical and safety arrangements are still pending.

"The boat can be lifted soon", he said, adding that the first phase, when the wreck is raised off the riverbed, will be critical.

The Viking Sigyn cruise ship struck the Mermaid just after 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on 29 May.

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