- 5 Jun 2019 8:44 AM
- Hungary Matters
Recovery teams have pulled the body of a victim from the sunken sightseeing boat, counter-terrorism force TEK, which is in charge of the recovery efforts, said.
The body was discovered in the window of the wreck on Tuesday morning and pulled to the surface in the afternoon, TEK said in a statement.
“The recovery teams are still working amid high-risk conditions and are doing everything they can to ensure that the operation is successful,” the statement said, adding that raising the wreck of the Hableány was still their top priority.
Budapest police said on the website police.hu on Tuesday afternoon that the body of a South Korean passenger had been found.
The body was lifted from the Danube at the village of Kulcs in Fejér County, around 60 km downstream from the accident.
The authorities are looking for further victims along the entire length of the river south of Budapest, police.hu added.
The bodies of two other victims were recovered on Monday. The one found near the southern Hungarian village of Harta is that of a South Korean national, a male aged around 60, the South Korean foreign ministry confirmed.
Another body, recovered also on Monday in a joint effort of Hungarian and Korean divers near Margaret Bridge, that of a woman, has also been identified, the police said.
The rescue efforts were swift and professional, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér told parliament’s national security committee.
Within half an hour after a river cruiser and a sight-seeing boat collided near the Parliament building and the smaller boat sank, the rescue operation was taken over by high-ranking officers of the police and the disaster management authority, he told the committee hearing.
Speaking to the press after the hearing, Pintér said the Hungarian authorities were cooperating well with the South Korean government, embassy and divers.
Pintér said the South Korean experts “have accepted the Hungarians’ arguments” on the dangers of entering the wreck, which is located near Margaret Bridge, under high waters with extremely swift currents.
Visibility is still close to zero, he said, adding that entering the wreck may prove extremely dangerous. The rescue operation is set to resume and the experts will aim recover as many of the victims’ bodies as possible, Pintér said, “but we do not want further casualties”.
Ultimately, the aim is to remove the shipwreck from the water, he said.
The Hableány, carrying 33 South Koreans and two Hungarian crew, collided with a cruise ship and sank last Wednesday.
Seven passengers were rescued, eleven have been confirmed dead and 17 are still missing. The Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn, a Swiss-registered cruise ship, has been detained.
MTI Photo: Balogh Zoltán