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(3rd LD) 5 bodies confirmed as S. Korean victims of Hungary boat sinking

All Headlines 17:45 June 05, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with one more body found in paras 6-7)
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)

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 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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