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Floating crane in Hungary’s capital to lift sunken tour boat

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A floating crane able to lift 200 tons and which would be able to hoist the boat out of the water on its way on the site of the accident where a sightseeing boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. South Korean officials say divers in Budapest have begun preparing a sunken tour boat in the hope that a huge floating crane can lift it out of the Danube River. (AP Photo/Laszlo Balogh)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — A huge floating crane, designed to lift a sunken sightseeing boat that was carrying South Korean tourists, arrived in Budapest on Wednesday as the search for more bodies continued, officials said.

But rising waters in the Danube River could impede the crane from reaching the site of the tragedy for up to four days, said Istvan Gyenyei, captain of the Adam Clark floating crane.

The Hableany (Mermaid) sightseeing boat, carrying 33 South Koreans and two Hungarian crew members, capsized and sank in about seven seconds after a collision last Wednesday night with the Viking Sigyn, a river cruise ship.

“Once the ropes are in place, the lifting tasks take a couple of hours,” Gyenyei said. “The question is how the (sunken) boat will behave as it starts to tear away from the river floor.”

“If the boat’s hull doesn’t break, the ropes will bear it for sure,” the captain said, adding that the plan was to put the Hableany on a barge in the river once raised out of the water. “We will try to lift it in ways that reduce the chance of the boat breaking.”

Meanwhile, the confirmed death toll rose to 13, as two more bodies were recovered from the river. Seven people were rescued and 15 remain missing.

Hungarian officials said the remains of a South Korean man were found at the village of Adony, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) downstream from Margit Bridge, while another body was retrieved by divers from an opening on the sunken boat.

Song Shun-keun, military attache at the South Korean Embassy, said divers had started the process of tying wires on the sunken boat so that it could be raised by the crane.

Song also said that South Korea, whose divers and rescue personnel were cooperating with their Hungarian counterparts, was sending more equipment to Hungary, including underwater drones, to help with search and recovery efforts.

Recovery efforts have been slowed by the Danube’s fast flow, typically high springtime water levels and near-zero visibility underwater.

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Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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