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SALVAGE OF ’HABLEÁNY’ DELAYED BY HIGH DANUBE WATER LEVEL

 

The operation to salvage the wreck of the Hableány, a sightseeing boat that sank in the River Danube in central Budapest last week, is being delayed by high water levels, public broadcaster M1 reported. A large crane ship is due to arrive on the river on Wednesday, but will stay in northern Budapest to wait for the water to ebb, according to M1. Experts said that divers are preparing to stabilise the wreck, but it would not be lifted to the surface before Friday.

Meanwhile, police reported on Wednesday that the body of another one of the victims has been identified. The victim was discovered on Wednesday morning by a Hungarian diver next to one of the ship’s openings during an operation to assess the condition of the wreck and to examine possible anchorage points for raising it.

Police said in the early hours of Wednesday that authorities had also identified the body of a South Korean victim found at the ferry of Adony in Fejér County, around 60km downstream from the accident. On Wednesday afternoon, M1 reported that two other bodies had been found, one in the Budapest section of the river and one downstream in Fejér County. It has not yet been confirmed that they are victims of the disaster, the broadcaster said. The authorities are looking for further victims along the entire length of the river south of Budapest, police said. The international team of experts is carrying out preparatory work with a view to raising the wreck as soon as possible, they said.

The Hableány, carrying 33 South Koreans and two Hungarian crew, collided with a cruise ship and sank last Wednesday. Seven passengers were rescued. Thirteen are still missing. With the last two — as yet unidentified — bodies, the number of the dead would rise to 15. The Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn, a Swiss-registered cruise ship, has been detained.