Police in Hungary lift capsized tourist boat from Danube

Hungarian rescuers 'not far' from lifting tour boat wreckage

Efforts to search for the missing victims and to raise the Mermaid have been hindered by the Danube's high springtime water levels, its fast flow, and near-zero visibility under water.

Seven tourists survived the boat crash and sinking, twenty people died, eight persons are still missing.

At least two bodies have been recovered from the wreck of a tourist boat that sank on the Danube in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, last month.

The lifting operation began at around 6 am (0400 GMT) and six hours later the Mermaid tourist boat was nearly entirely out of the water. Crews are searching for seven South Koreans and the boat's Hungarian captain.

It was expected to take about four hours for the salvage work to be completed, from pulling the wreck out of the river and placing it safely on the barge. The Mermaid was carrying mostly South Korean holidaymakers when it capsized and sank on the evening of May 29, seconds after colliding with a bigger river cruise boat on a busy stretch of the river.

State news agency MTI reported that a total of four victims had been found on Tuesday and recovered by divers. Salvage crews saluted in respect as each body was removed.

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Investigators from Korea also boarded the Viking Sigyn, the large cruise ship that rammed the Hableány, to probe the cause of the accident.

Damage was visible to the rear part of the Mermaid where the collision occurred.

Police spokesman Kristof Gal said although it was not yet officially confirmed, the Hableany's Hungarian captain and a young South Korean girl are believed to be among the four bodies taken off the boat after it was raised to the river surface. After the incident, the boat had travelled on to Germany before returning to Hungary according to its schedule.

The captain of the cruise liner Viking Sigyn - a 64-year-old man identified by police as C. Yuriy from Odessa, Ukraine - is being held as a suspect.

The accident happened on a part of the Danube river popular for pleasure trips.

The bodies of other victims were recovered in the following days, with one pulled from the Danube more than 100km (60 miles) downstream.

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