BEIJING: Chinese rescuers on Tuesday searched for hundreds missing after a passenger ship carrying more than 450 people capsized in the storm-hit Yangtze river, with several survivors reportedly confirmed trapped in the upturned hull.
State broadcaster CCTV said five bodies had been recovered and 12 people rescued from the Dongfangzhixing, or “Eastern Star” which sank late Monday en route from the eastern city of Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing.
Footage showed rescue workers tapping on the ship’s hull, part of which remained above water, with some holding welding gear.
“Rescuers knocked on the ship and received responses,” the Hubei Daily said. “Three people were found alive.”
Teams of police worked to get small motor boats in the water in order to search for survivors in heavy rain, while other emergency personnel looked on from the shore.
CCTV said the 250-feet (76.5-metre) long vessel had floated three kilometres (1.9 miles) down river after it capsized in the Jianli region of central Hubei province.
The cause of the sinking was not immediately clear, but the captain and chief engineer, who were among those rescued and are being questioned by authorities, both reportedly said it had been caught in a “cyclone”.
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