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Bodies recovered as Danube River tour boat lifted

Four bodies have been recovered from the sunken Danube River tour boat that was brought to the surface in Hungary's capital on Tuesday.

19 South Koreans, Hungarian crewman confirmed dead after May 29 collision

The Mermaid tourist boat was carrying mostly South Korean holidaymakers when it capsized and sank seconds after colliding with a bigger river cruise boat on a busy stretch of the river on May 29. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

Rescue crews raised a sunken tour boat out of the Danube River on Tuesday, shortly after four more bodies were recovered from the vessel involved in a collision with a river cruise ship nearly two weeks ago.

A huge floating crane placed the Hableany (Mermaid) on a barge at Margit Bridge, the site of the tragedy in the Hungarian capital.

Nineteen South Koreans and a Hungarian crewman have been confirmed dead, with eight people still missing.

Police spokesperson Kristof Gal said although it was not yet officially confirmed,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.

Seven South Koreans were rescued after the nighttime collision May 29 amid heavy rain.

Gal said the tour boat would be taken on the barge to nearby Csepel Island, where it will be examined by Budapest police as part of their investigation of the crash.

He said rescuers would also sift through the sediment deposited in the hull of the boat — which spent more than 12 days underwater — in the search for more victims.

The search will continue along the Hungarian section of the Danube south of Budapest, Gal said.

High water levels hinder search

Efforts to find the missing and raise the Hableany have been hindered by the Danube's high springtime water levels — which are expected to fall significantly over the coming days in Budapest — and the river's fast flow, as well as near-zero visibility under water.

The captain of the other ship in the collision, the Viking Sigyn, has been under arrest since June 1, suspected of endangering water transport leading to a deadly mass accident.

The Viking Sigyn, which left Budapest less than 48 hours after the collision, is back in Hungary on a scheduled trip and docked at the town of Visegrad, north of Budapest. Police said they carried out another inspection on the ship on Monday, but said there were no plans to seize the cruise ship.

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