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5 bodies confirmed as S. Korean victims of Hungary boat sinking

5 June 2019 15:16

BUDAPEST/SEOUL. KAZINFORM - The five bodies found in the Danube River in the last two days were all confirmed to be South Koreans missing in last week's deadly sinking of a sightseeing boat in Hungary, officials said Wednesday, Yonhap reports.

That puts the death toll of last Wednesday's tragedy in central Budapest at 12 Koreans, with 14 others still unaccounted for. Two Hungarian crew members also remain missing. Seven other Korean passengers were rescued right after the accident.

Officials from South Korea's quick response team in Budapest said they have identified the second body pulled from underwater at the accident site Tuesday as a Korean in his 20s.

He was found stuck in one of the glass windows in the hull, South Korean defense attache Song Shun-keun told reporters earlier.

Two more bodies were retrieved on the same day, some 50 kilometers away from the sinking site. They were identified as a man in his 50s and one in his 20s.

Later Wednesday, one more body was retrieved by divers and sent to a hospital for identification. If the body is confirmed to be a Korean, it would raise the confirmed number of Korean deaths to 13, with 12 others remaining missing.

So far, rescue workers have recovered a total of six bodies since they began sending divers into the water Monday as part of preparations for underwater search and salvaging operations.

South Korea has sought Hungary's permission to search inside the wreck to find more victims, but Hungarian authorities have disapproved it over safety concerns and preferred to take steps to lift the boat first from the river.

Hungary will embark on roping the ship early Wednesday, with the underwater and aerial search to find the missing to also continue, the Korean officials said.

To prevent the contents of the ship from being lost, the divers will cover the boat's damaged entrance in the middle section of the ship with a net.

Some of the glass windows will be cracked before lifting the wreck so as to drain water and lower the pressure.

The water level near the accident site was measured at 7.4 meters and the speed of the water at 4.5 km per hour as of Wednesday morning, a sharp drop from last week when the river was flooding from days of rainfall.

Korea has sent additional equipment to Budapest to better help the search efforts, including a Surface Supplied Diving System (SSDS), designed to supply breathing gas to and communicate with the diver from the shore, Seoul's foreign ministry said earlier.

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