The Clark Ádám crane vessel disbanded from the floating establishment and a towboat moved into position. Shortly before 4:00 PM, the towboat has departed towards the Csepel port, where police and experts are waiting to inspect the boat as a part of the ongoing investigation. The barge carrying the Hableány's wreckage is escorted by the police.
During the operation, special divers have recovered the bodies of four victims from the Hableány, and rescue workers had successfully lifted the wreckage from the riverbed during the carefully executed operation that lasted almost eight hours. BBC created the following timelapse of the operation:
Four people are still missing ever since the accident on May 29, and police say it cannot be ruled out that their bodies are still in the boat's cabin as parts of the hull are still filled with deposit from the Danube, nevertheless, the number of people on the search party scouring the entire Hungarian section of the Danube south of the scene has been doubled.
Index is now concluding the English live coverage of the salvage operation.
Public news channel M1 reported from Visegrád where the Viking Sigyn has been moored since yesterday. The reporter said that their crew approached the Sigyn on a motorboat and they confirmed the information appearing in South Korean media that the scratches on the Sigyn's bow had been painted over.
They could not find out why the Sigyn is not moving on from Visegrád, what is known is that yesterday police conducted an inspection onboard.
The Sigyn has previously left Hungary for its destination in Passau and continued with its scheduled trips with new passengers.
Péter Kolozsi, the deputy spokesperson of the Disaster Relief Services told M1's reporter that their colleagues were in a particularly difficult situation not only because the Danube's deposit filling the hull - they had to prepare for working amongst dangerous objects, they were risking damage to their equipment, and the extreme heat took a heavy toll on them as well. "This rescue operation was greatly taxing physically and mentally," he noted.
Judging by the triangular shape, the dent could have been caused by the bow of the Viking Sigyn.
Kristóf Gál, the spokesperson of the Hungarian Police held a press conference after the Hableány was placed on the barge. He informed the journalists about the following:
As it's visible on our livestream, the Hableány was successfully placed on the barge and rescuers are working to secure the boat to the deck.
Press officer of the Hungarian Counter Terrorism Centre Nándor Jasenszky told Index that the wreckage will most likely be taken to Csepel, the island on the Danube on the southern part of Budapest. "After the boat has been salvaged, it is within the competence of the Budapest Metropolitan Police, as it will be examined within a crime scene investigation procedure," Jasenszky added.
He also told us that the Danube deposited sediment in the back of the cabin where tourists were at the time of the accident, therefore it cannot be ruled out that crime scene investigators will find more victims.
The special divers lifted four victims from the shipwreck throughout the operation, but four people are still missing.
Rescue workers are currently placing wooden wedges under the boat to make sure it stays safely on the barge as it is being lowered onto it.
M1 reminded that authorities consider the shipwreck to be a crime scene and detectives will carry out a thorough examination of the Hableány, though likely at a different location.
Centimetre by centimetre, rescue workers are slowly lifting the Hableány before they start placing it onto the barge next to the Clark Ádám crane vessel, our colleague reported from the scene.
This is the last phase of the salvage operation, and by now, the hull seems to be completely above the surface according to M1.
The sides have been taken off of the blue barge onto which rescuers plan to place the wreckage of the Hableány. Our colleagues on the scene reported that the water is still being pumped out of the hull. Once that is finished, rescuers can begin the final phase:
If the wreckage can be lifted in a way that it remains intact, rescuers will be placing it onto the blue barge anchored by the crane vessel.
Our colleague on the scene reports that police only allow journalists on the sidewalk of Margit bridge that is closer to the scene of the accident, and pedestrians are barred from the quay nearby.
Still, despite the police warning, approximately a thousand people did show up to watch as rescuers lift the Hableány, armed with foldable chairs and binoculars as they follow the news on their smartphones. Binoculars are handed around, information is loudly exchanged, and onlookers do not seem to be bothered by the heat and the sun either.
According to our colleague at the scene, the three divers emerged from the wreckage of the Hableány after approximately 20 minutes, covered in mud. The lower parts of the boat could still be under 1.5 metres of water that is currently being pumped out from the hull.
The three divers used a ladder to access the lower part of the hull that could still be under 1.5 metres of water.
There was no distress call on any of the maritime radio channels at the time of the accident on 29 May, Zoltán Tolnay, a captain in service on the tragic night, told M1.
The captain told M1 that they did not see the crash as they were passing under the Chain Bridge at the time, the first thing he heard on the radio was a 'man overboard' call. He added that the seven survivors were rescued in a professional manner.
He also said that during the overtake manoeuvre,
Viking Sigyn should have initiated communication with the smaller vessel."
Zoltán Tolnay said that the water transportation community is deeply shocked.
Stabilisation of the Hableány requires a prolonged effort, our colleague reported from the scene. According to our colleague's description, the rescuers started pulling new cables under the bow of the Hableány as soon as the front was lifted from the water. Rescuers working on the barge next to the wreckage have a chance now to take a look inside the cabin through the windows, where special divers, standing by fully equipped, are expected to find more victims.
The rescuers are working in increasing heat, the current temperature in Budapest is 29°C.
Our colleague on location reported that even if the entirety of the Hableány's hull is on the surface, there is still a long way to go. Divers are standing by at the ready, waiting for enough water to be pumped out from the hull so they can reenter the wreckage to look for more victims.
Members of the disaster relief services assembled hoses at the scene and have begun pumping water out from the hull of the Hableány.
In the meantime, the crane continued to lift the boat - the front of the Hableány is already out of the Danube, bearing the heavy scars of the collision on 29 May, when the Sigyn seems to have basically swept over the Hableány's deck.
A rescuer fell into the Danube from a boat taking part in the rescue operation. He was pulled from the water into an inflatable motorboat by three members of the Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) with great difficulty due to the still exceedingly strong currents of the Danube.
M1 reported as unofficial information that one of the four victims recovered by special divers from the wreckage of the Hableány was the six-year-old girl previously reported to have been on the boat at the time of the accident.
As rescue workers are preparing to employ a fifth lifting sling to be able to safely continue the search for the victims on the Hableány, a police boat arrived carrying Sándor Pintér, the Hungarian Minister of Interior Affairs. He was greeted by János Hajdu, Director-General of the Counter Terrorism Center that is in charge of coordinating the operation.
The reporter of public news channel M1 said that the operation is halted because the Hableány had "slid under" one of the barges and also because there is damage on the back of the hull.
Another hook was lowered from the crane vessel as a cable was tied to the back of the Hableány's hull, rescue workers are definitely preparing to use a fifth lifting attachment.
The bodies of four victims were recovered from the wreckage of the Hableány by special divers this morning. Our colleague on the spot reported that the bodies are swiftly taken away from the scene for identification by police boats as members of rescue forces salute the victims. There is no official information yet on the identities of the victims discovered today.
Out of respect, we will not be showing live footage or photographs about the recovery of the victims.
Our colleague on location reports that rescue workers found damage on the side of the hull, and they are forced to take a technical break. Rescuers are considering the option of using a fifth lifting sling to ensure that the hull remains intact as the Hableány is lifted from the Danube.