Main bridges of Budapest close as crane arrives to hoist sunken boat wreck

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-08 00:06:38|Editor: yan
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BUDAPEST, June 7 (Xinhua) -- The major bridges of Budapest, the Margit and the Arpad, were being closed to the traffic on Friday afternoon, to let the giant crane ship pass under them, that is supposed to hoist the wreck of the tourist sightseeing boat that sank last Wednesday, according to official sources.

"The Margit and Arpad bridges will be closed to traffic from 02:00 p.m. to safely let the crane ship pass under the said bridges," the Hungarian police declared in a statement.

The sightseeing Hungarian boat Hableany (Mermaid) was carrying a group of 33 South Korean tourists and a two-member Hungarian crew when it collided with the 1,000-ton Swiss cruise ship Viking, and sank.

Among the 35 passengers, only seven were rescued, and 18 were found dead since then with the help from special drivers from Hungarian authorities, helped by Austrian and South-Korean teams.

Authorities are afraid that the ship has been broken into several pieces and it will be very difficult to get it out of the waters.

The first salvage attempt at the Danube River will be made on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Danube Water Police are searching for the bodies of the missing persons with 15 boats on an over 200 km stretch of the river between Budapest and the country's southern border, the water police chief Richard Prohaszka told a press conference on Friday.

Police are also using dogs to search for the bodies, and three bodies of the missing have been discovered with their help, Prohaszka added.

Sonar equipment, search lights and night-vision are also being used.

The search for the missing started right after the collision and will continue until all the bodies are found, he said. Other water authorities are also involved in the search, according to him.

The national water management authority said on Friday that the water level of the River Danube was still on the rise. Snow melting in the catchment areas of the river is expected to push the water level a few centimeters up in the next few days. A flood alert is in place along 350 km of the river in Hungary, the authority said in a statement.

High water levels make it hard for the crane ship to pass under the bridges, and the high levels also go with strong current, which endangers the lives of the divers.