Death Toll in Danube River Tour Boat Collision Rises to 20

June 9, 2019 Updated: June 9, 2019

BUDAPEST, Hungary—Hungarian police say the body of another South Korean tourist has been recovered following the May 29 accident in which a sightseeing boat sank in seconds after colliding with a cruise ship on the Danube River, raising the confirmed death toll to 20.

Police said Sunday that they are still searching for seven other South Koreans and the sunken tour boat’s captain.

Korean TV crew
A Korean television crew works at Margaret Bridge, the scene of the deadly boat accident in Budapest, Hungary, on June 8, 2019. (Lajos Soos/MTI via AP)
boat accident
A woman visits a flower tributary at Margaret Bridge, the scene of the boat accident in Budapest, Hungary, on June 8, 2019. (Balazs Mohai/MTI via AP)

Police said the body of the South Korean woman was found at the town of Szazhalombatta, about 18 miles downstream from the scene of the collision in Budapest, near the Hungarian Parliament building.

Only seven people, all South Koreans, were rescued.

A huge floating crane is in place at Margit Bridge as preparations continue to lift the boat off the river floor.

Sunk Shipwreck
Specialists prepare a 200-ton lift capacity crane named Clark Adam for retrieving the sunk shipwreck at Margaret Bridge, the scene of the deadly boat accident in Budapest, Hungary, on June 8, 2019. (Balazs Mohai/MTI via AP)

Over 200 Questioned Over Boat Collision

Hungarian police say they have questioned 230 people and 66 witnesses over the deadly Danube Riverboat collision.

They also said Saturday that the captain of the cruise ship that collided with the sightseeing boat carrying the tourists did not reveal details of the incident during questioning.

A GoogleEarth image combined with a sonar image of the sunk boat
A GoogleEarth image combined with a sonar image of the sunk boat is presented during a press conference about the recovery operations in the Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) headquarters in Budapest, Hungary, on June 3, 2019. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)

The tour boat sank within seconds after the collision in downtown Budapest.

The Danube’s high water levels have hindered recovery efforts.

A diver takes part in the search operations in the River Danube
A diver takes part in the search operations in the River Danube for the missing victims of the deadly boat accident near Dunaujvaros, Hungary, June 7, 2019. (Balazs Mohai/MTI via AP)
A 200-ton lift capacity crane
A 200-ton lift capacity crane named Clark Adam is positioned near the Margaret Bridge, the scene of the deadly boat accident in Budapest, Hungary, on June 7, 2019. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)

“Once the ropes are in place, the lifting tasks take a couple of hours,” Gyenyei said. “The question is how the (sunken) boat will behave as it starts to tear away from the river floor.”

“If the boat’s hull doesn’t break, the ropes will bear it for sure,” the captain said, adding that the plan was to put the Hableany on a barge in the river once raised out of the water. “We will try to lift it in ways that reduce the chance of the boat breaking.”

A floating crane able to lift 200 tons
A floating crane able to lift 200 tons and which would be able to hoist the boat out of the water on its way on the site of the accident where a sightseeing boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, on June 5, 2019. (Laszlo Balogh/AP Photo)

Song Shun-keun, military attache at the South Korean Embassy, said divers had started the process of tying wires on the sunken boat so that it could be raised by the crane.

Song also said that South Korea, whose divers and rescue personnel were cooperating with their Hungarian counterparts, was sending more equipment to Hungary, including underwater drones, to help with search and recovery efforts.

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