S. Korean rescue team returns home after wrapping up search operation in Hungary

SEOUL-- South Korea's team of deep-sea divers and rescue workers returned home Tuesday, wrapping up their monthlong operation to search for Koreans who went missing when their cruise boat capsized in the Danube River in Budapest in May.

The National Fire Agency (NFA) said a second batch of nine deep-sea divers and three rescue officials arrived at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, in the morning, from the Eastern European country.

The second team began its Danube River mission on June 24 after replacing the first team of NFA rescuers who flew to Hungary in late May following the sinking of the sightseeing boat Hableany, carrying 33 South Korean tourists and two Hungarian crew members. One South Korean tourist still remains missing from the May 28 tragedy that already claimed the lives of 25 South Koreans.

Jeong Moon-ho, commissioner of the NFA, greeted the returning rescuers at the airport and expressed regrets at the failure to find all missing South Koreans in Hungary.

"I'm grateful to you all for your safe return after undergoing hardships in the difficult circumstances. I feel sorry for the one missing person. I think the people will understand this in consideration of many difficulties," said Jeong, vowing to reinforce the preparedness of the NFA's international rescue team. It has been the first time for NFA divers to participate in an overseas rescue operation.

Kim Seung-ryong, who led the NFA rescue team in Hungary, said the Hungarian government will continue to search for the missing South Korean until Aug. 19.

According to Seoul's foreign ministry, meanwhile, the government also disbanded its disaster management headquarters for the Hungarian boat sinking accident Tuesday, and two ministry officials sent to Budapest to help with the disaster will return home Wednesday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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