Four people who were seriously injured in the incident were able to leave their respective hospitals on Wednesday, according to police.
But the accident could have been much worse, investigators say.
129 people were aboard the ship – called the “Swiss Crystal” – when the accident occurred late in the evening on Tuesday, a police spokesman said.
These passengers were mainly nationals from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The ship had been sailing along the Rhine on its way to the Netherlands.
But the ship never made it to its destination. When the crash took place, not only was the bow of the Swiss Crystal damaged, a large-scale operation ensued.
A second passenger ship came to its rescue and helped its 26 crew members and 103 passengers disembark. Meanwhile several ships with firefighters aboard were deployed, emergency medics treated passengers at the scene and the water police were present.
The bridge, which encompasses a section of the A42 motorway in North Rhine-Westphalia, was closed after the accident. But after close inspection, structural engineers expect it will be safe for traffic again from noon on Wednesday.
As for the passengers of the Swiss Crystal, about an hour after the accident a replacement ship organized by the ship’s tour operator Scylla arrived.
“Those affected had the opportunity to continue their journey with the replacement ship,” the company said. Scylla additionally organized further transportation arrangements and hotel accommodation for the passengers on request.
A spokeswoman for the Swiss ship company however could not provide a statement in response to the accident early in the morning on Wednesday.