The rescue efforts after last week’s ship collision on the Danube were swift and professional, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér told parliament’s national security committee on Tuesday.
Within half an hour after a river cruiser and a sight-seeing boat collided near the Parliament building in Budapest and the smaller boat sank, the rescue operation was taken over by high-ranking officers of the police and the disaster management authority, he told the committee hearing.
Speaking to the press after the hearing, Pintér said the Hungarian authorities were cooperating well with the South Korean government, embassy and divers.
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Pintér said the South Korean experts “have accepted the Hungarians’ arguments” on the dangers of entering the wreck, which is located near Margaret Bridge, under high waters with extremely swift currents. Visibility is still close to zero, he said, adding that entering the wreck may prove extremely dangerous.
The rescue operation is set to resume and the experts will aim recover as many of the victims’ bodies as possible, Pintér said, “but we do not want further casualties”. Ultimately, the aim is to remove the shipwreck from the water, he said.
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On May 29, the sightseeing boat carrying 33 South Korean nationals and two Hungarian crew members sank near the Parliament building. The Hungarian police said on its website on Tuesday that the boat had been carrying 22 women, 12 men and one child. Seven passengers were rescued, nine bodies have been recovered, and 19 are still missing.
Featured photo by Márton Mónus/MTI