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The Latest: ‘Unique’ method needed to salvage sunken boat

May 31, 2019
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A structure to be used in the rescue operation is unloaded by a crane on the riverbank near Margaret Bridge, in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, May 31, 2019. As divers descended Friday into the Danube, Hungarian authorities predicted it would take an extended search to find the 21 people still missing after a boat carrying South Korean tourists was rammed by a cruise ship and sank into the river in Budapest. (Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Latest on rescue efforts following the capsizing of a boat in Budapest (all times local):

10 p.m.

Hungary’s interior ministry says experts believe a “unique” method is needed to salvage the sunken tour boat from the Danube River, or rescue any bodies trapped inside.

The ministry said Friday that the adverse conditions, including zero visibility underwater and the fast-flowing river’s rising water level, don’t allow for the use of any traditional methods.

Divers have been unable to even approach the wreckage of the 27-meter-long (88.5-foot-long) Hableany (Mermaid), which sits in over 6 meters (20 feet) of water, near Hungary’s neo-Gothic Parliament building.

The ministry said 60 engineers, bridge builders and others are experimenting with theoretical models and test dives to find a solution.

Of the 35 people on board, mostly South Korean tourists, 21 are still missing after Wednesday’s collision with a cruise ship. Seven people have been confirmed dead and there are seven survivors.

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7:40 p.m.

Hungarian prosecutors say they have asked a Budapest court to arrest the captain of a river cruise ship that collided with a smaller tour boat carrying South Korean tourists.

Only seven of the 35 people onboard — 33 South Koreans and a two-man Hungarian crew — are known to have survived Wednesday night’s collision on the Danube River.

The Ukrainian captain of the cruise ship was detained by police on Thursday, but prosecutors said Friday that arresting the 64-year-old man is the only way to ensure his presence during the proceedings.

Prosecutors said an investigative judge at the Capital City Court is expected to make a decision about the arrest on Saturday.

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2: 10 p.m.

South Korea’s foreign minister says an investigation into the collision that sank a sightseeing boat packed with South Korean tourists includes studying all communication records seized from a cruise ship that was involved in the accident.

Kang Kyung-wha said Friday at a joint news conference with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto that a South Korean rescue team will soon join the search for the 21 still missing after Wednesday’s collision on the Danube River.

Kang says “we shared our firm resolve not to abandon” the search for survivors.

The captain of the cruise ship has been detained. There are seven confirmed dead. Seven others have survived.

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1 p.m.

The South Korean foreign minister says the cruise ship that collided with a sightseeing boat packed with South Korean tourists, causing it to sink quickly in the Danube River, has been released and is on its way to Germany.

The captain of the cruise ship has been detained. He is a Ukrainian national suspected of endangering water transport leading to a deadly mass accident. There are seven confirmed dead and 21 more people missing. Seven others have survived.

Kang Kyung-wha, the South Korean foreign minister, said Friday at a joint press conference with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto that the owner of ship has promised to fully cooperate with the investigation into the Wednesday evening collision.

Kang said, “we have seen the footage of a larger vessel ramming into a small boat in bad weather, causing the boat to sink.” She added that “if the investigation finds the ship’s owner responsible, there will be a thorough legal response over its fault.”

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12:20 p.m.

Hungary’s foreign minister says underwater visibility at the site in the Danube River where the sunken tour boat is located is “practically zero,” complicating efforts to salvage the wreck.

Peter Szijjarto said Friday after meeting his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, that the wreckage is more than 6 meters (20 feet) under water, with the Danube expected to keep rising because of rainfall.

Twenty-one people, including 19 South Koreans, are still missing after Wednesday’s collision. Seven people were rescued and seven are confirmed dead.

Szijjarto and Kang visited the site of the mishap, near the Hungarian parliament, before holding talks at the Foreign Ministry.

One of the bodies recovered was found nearly 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) downstream, nearly 2-½ hours after the collision.

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9 a.m.

Hungarian police have detained the captain of a cruise ship that collided with a sightseeing boat packed with South Korean tourists, causing it to sink quickly in the Danube River.

That development came as loved ones of the South Korean people who are missing and dead were expected to arrive Friday in Budapest.

Seven people are confirmed dead and seven have been rescued, while 21 people remain missing in the waters.

A South Korean group on a package tour of Europe — including 30 tourists, two guides and a photographer— were on an hour-long sightseeing tour of Budapest when their boat collided with a Viking cruise ship during a downpour Wednesday evening.

Nineteen South Koreans and two Hungarian crew members — the captain and his assistant — remain missing.

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