More Bodies Found as Disaster River Cruise Boat Raised in Budapest

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Efforts to search for the missing victims of the accident and to 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.

Nineteen South Korean tourists and a Hungarian crewman were previously confirmed to have died, with eight people still listed as missing.

Four bodies were recovered as the Hungarian police on Tuesday began lifting a river cruise boat that sank on Danube river in Budapest last month, BBC reported.

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. It is not known how strong the hull of the 70-year-old boat is following the collision, salvage experts say.

Hungarian special forces spokesman Nandor Jasenszky said divers had fixed the straps and made all the necessary checks.

Rescue personnel could be seen early in the morning on a barge next to the partially raised boat carrying stretchers, each with a body bag on it.

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The wreck will be raised on Tuesday, and search workers will board the vessel and search for bodies once the hull appears above the surface and water drains from it.

Damage was visible to the rear part of the Mermaid where the collision occurred. The salvage crew instead focused on fixing wire harnesses underneath the vessel to prepare it for hoisting by a powerful crane mounted on a barge.

Once out of the water and removed to a secure location the Mermaid will be examined by police who have already launched a criminal probe into the cause of the accident. Only seven of the 35 people on board - 33 South Koreans and two Hungarian crew members - were rescued. After the incident, the boat had travelled on to Germany before returning to Hungary according to its schedule.

The Viking Sigyn cruise ship struck the Mermaid just after 9pm local time on 29 May as both vessels passed under the Margit Bridge.

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

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