The bodies of four of the victims that were trapped on the Hableány (Mermaid) pleasure boat when it capsized after colliding with a cruise ship on the River Danube in Budapest have been removed from the wreck. Salvagers began raising the vessel to the surface on Tuesday morning.
The first body was discovered on the captain’s bridge, MTI’s correspondent at the site next to Margit Bridge reported. Another body has been identified as that of the only child on board at the time of the collision, public broadcaster M1 reported.
An additional harness is being fixed to the wreck after the boat’s right side was found to be damaged, but this will not delay the salvage operation earlier estimated at six hours.
Interior Minister Sándor Pintér has arrived at the site.
The Hableány sank after a Swiss-owned cruise ship collided into it on May 29 as both vessels passed under Margit Bridge in Budapest on May 29. It had a group of 33 South Korean tourists and a crew of two Hungarians aboard.
Nándor Jasenszky of the TEK counter-terrorism police, which is responsible for overseeing the operation, told current affairs channel M1 that the critical point of the operation would be raising the hull from the bottom of the river bed.
The salvage will take place in several stages, during which the state of the ship would be assessed at several points.
Once the vessel is brought to the surface it will be placed on barges.
During each of the four phases of the operation, divers will enter the hull to remove objects, furniture and any objects covering bodies, according to MTI’s correspondent at the site.
The authorities are also ready to mop up fuel spilled from the vessel if any of the 1,400 liters of diesel leaks during the salvage.
The Hableány was built in 1949. The boat is 27.2 meters long, 4.8 meters wide and 5.2 meters tall and weighs 50 tonnes.