BUDAPEST • Salvage crews recovered four bodies yesterday as they slowly lifted the wreck of a boat from the Danube River in Budapest, two weeks after it capsized with a group of South Korean tourists on board, officials said.
The Mermaid sank in seconds on May 29, after a cruise liner hit it from behind under a bridge in the Hungarian capital during heavy rain. Twenty-six of the tourists and the two Hungarian crew members died in the worst disaster on the river in half a century. The bodies of all but four of the victims have now been recovered.
One of the bodies was spotted as the captain's cabin came to the surface, said the spokesman for Hungary's special forces, who are coordinating the recovery operation.
"Now we will make further checks... in the parts of the boat where there could be further victims," Mr Nandor Jasenszky said.
State news agency MTI reported that a total of four victims were found yesterday and recovered by divers. Salvage crews saluted in respect as each body was removed.
Divers had placed straps under the sunken wreck to allow a huge floating crane to lift it. The Mermaid was lifted onto a barge that will take it to Csepel, an industrial port in south Budapest.
The captain of the cruise liner Viking Sigyn - a 64-year-old man identified as C. Yuriy from Odessa, Ukraine - is being held as a suspect. His lawyers said he is devastated but did nothing wrong.
The captain was held under suspicion of misconduct in waterborne traffic leading to mass casualties, police said. Swiss-based Viking Cruises, which owns the Viking Sigyn, said it is cooperating with Hungarian investigators.