News World Danube tour boat crash death toll now 19

Danube tour boat crash death toll now 19

The recovery of bodies from the Danube River continues 11 days after the tragedy on May 29. Photo: AAP
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The death toll from last week’s Danube River crash between a sightseeing boat and a cruise ship has risen by four to 19, Hungarian police say.

Police said the body of a female South Korean tourist was found in Budapest, while the remains of one of the two Hungarian crewmen was found at the town of Erd, 21 kilometres downstream from the scene of the crash at Margit Bridge, near the Hungarian Parliament building.

Earlier, police announced the recovery in Budapest of the bodies of two South Korean men.

One was found about 3km from the Margit Bridge while the other was located some 5km downstream.

Eight South Koreans and the other crew member are still missing, while only seven tourists aboard the Hableany (Mermaid) are known to have survived when it sank within seconds of being hit by the Viking Sigyn, a 95-cabin river cruise ship.

On Thursday afternoon, Budapest’s Chief Prosecution Office said the cruise ship’s Ukrainian captain, identified earlier as Yuriy C, referencing his first name and the initial letter of his last name, was also involved in a crash in the Netherlands on April 1 involving a sister ship.

Viking River Cruises, the owners of the cruise ships, confirmed in a statement to The Associated Press that the 64-year-old was on the Viking Idun when it collided with a tanker on the Western Scheldt waterway near the southern Dutch town of Terneuzen, but that he was “not serving” as captain at the time.

“We are unable to comment further while the investigations of both incidents are ongoing,” the company said.

The Ukrainian captain was formally arrested for 30 days in Budapest on Saturday, suspected of endangering water transport leading to a deadly mass accident.

He remains in custody while an appeals court rules on prosecutors’ objections to his release on bail.

Prosecutors also said the captain erased data from his mobile phone after the Budapest collision, though they could not confirm that the missing information was related to their investigation.

The Adam Clark floating crane passes by Northern Railway Bridge in Budapest on June 5 as it prepares to lift the shipwreck. Photo: AAP

A huge floating crane to be used to raise the Hableany from the Danube floor, the Adam Clark, has been waiting since Wednesday afternoon in north Budapest.

Nandor Jasenszky, a spokesman for the rescue team, said divers were setting up harnesses and lifting points on the sunken tour boat, with preparations expected to be concluded by Friday local time.

The crane will only be able to begin the lift when Danube water levels fall.