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(2nd LD) 5 bodies confirmed as S. Korean victims of Hungary boat sinking

All Headlines 15:51 June 05, 2019

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead, paras 2-5 with updates on victim identification)
By Kim Seung-yeon

BUDAPEST/SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- 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.

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.

South Korean and Hungarian workers prepare to go into the Danube River on June 4, 2019, to search for missing victims in last week's sinking of a tourist boat in Budapest. (Yonhap)

Workers have recovered a total of five bodies since they began sending divers into the water Monday as part of preparations for underwater search and salvaging operations.

Bodies of a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s were found Monday, over 100 km away downstream and near the accident site, respectively.

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 is set to start salvaging work later this week, once the water levels are stable enough to move and set up the crane at the sinking site. Until then, an underwater search around the wreck will continue, the officials said.

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.

elly@yna.co.kr

graceoh@yna.co.kr
(END)

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