|A large crane lifts the wreck of the sightseeing boat Hableany out of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday. AP-Yonhap|
By Jung Da-min
The bodies of four people have been recovered during the salvage of the ill-fated sightseeing boat Hableany, which was pulled from the Danube River early Tuesday (local time) nearly two weeks after sinking.
Three bodies believed to be of Korean passengers were found by salvage divers near the entrance of the stairs connecting the deck and the cabin, after another body believed to be of the Hungarian captain of the boat was found in the wheelhouse.
If the four bodies are confirmed to be victims of the accident, this would leave four unaccounted for and 24 confirmed dead out of the 28 dead or missing after the May 29 sinking of the boat. It was carrying 33 South Korean passengers and two Hungarian crew members. Only the bodies of seven Korean tourists were recovered right after the sinking.
The operations to lift the ship began at around 1:30 p.m. Korean time.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday it is closely watching the salvage work in Hungary and it will discuss follow-up measures such as finding the cause of the accident and compensation for the victims with the Hungarian authorities.
Hungarian authorities have continued their search, assisted by Korean authorities, along the river with divers, helicopters, drones and search dogs while the investigation was being carried out by the Hungarian side over the Viking Sigyn, a larger tourist vessel that hit the sightseeing boat.
But Hungarian police have been embroiled in controversy over its lapses in the investigation following its decision to allow the cruise to keep sailing two days after the accident, while a Hungarian court has also granted conditional bail for Yuriy C., the cruise ship captain accused of negligence and carelessness leading to the collision.
Following the controversy, Hungarian police vowed a tighter investigation while the Hungarian prosecutor appealed against the bail.