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Body recovered from boat wreck, another found 115 km away

South Korean and Hungarian divers have recovered a body from the wreck of the tourist boat which was hit by a larger ship and sank last week in Budapest, international news agency Reuters reported, citing the Hungarian counter-terrorism unit running the rescue/recovery. 

A Hungarian and South Korean rescue/recovery team on the Danube (photo: Gergely Janossy / Shutterstock.com)

Another body has been recovered from the river some 115 km downstream from Budapest, near to Harta. The number of confirmed deaths is now nine.

According to Hungarian news portal 24.hu, the body found near Harta was identified as a South Korean male in his 60s, while the body recovered from the wreck at Margaret Bridge in the capital was identified as a female.

Some 19 people are still missing, presumed dead, following the accident - the worst river disaster in Hungary in more than half a century. The Hableány (Mermaid), a pleasure boat carrying 33 South Korean tourists and two Hungarian crew members, capsized after a collision involving a larger cruise ship named Viking Sigyn. 

After days in which Hungarian divers were unable to reach the wreck, due to the Danubeʼs fast flow, high springtime water levels and near-zero visibility under water, South Korea sent its own recovery team which joined the operation on Monday, Reuters reported. The South Korean rescue team aims to recover bodies while the shipwreck is still on the river bed. The Hungarians say that is a possibility but they have also considered lifting the hull out of the water first.

CBC News reported that a huge floating crane capable of hoisting the boat out of the water is expected at the scene within days. Hungarian state television reported that the crane was stranded roughly 120 kilometers upriver, unable to pass under bridges on its way to Budapest because of the Danubeʼs high water levels.

The Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn cruise liner which collided with the pleasure boat has been detained and faces a criminal investigation. He denies wrongdoing.