WUHAN, June 2 (Xinhua) — The BBC is reporting that a passenger ship carrying 458 people sank Monday night in the Hubei section of China’s Yangtze River.
The ship, named Dongfangzhixing (Eastern Star), sank at around 9:28 p.m. in the Jianli (Hubei Province) section of the Yangtze River, according to the Yangtze River navigation administration.
The captain and the chief engineer were rescued and claimed the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone. It was heading from Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, to southwest China’s Chongqing city.
405 Chinese passengers, 52 crew members were aboard according to the Chinese officials.
The Eastern Star measured 251 feet LOA and could accommodate 534 people. It is owned by the Chongqing Eastern Shipping Corp., which focuses on tourism routes in the popular Three Gorges river canyon region.
CCTV said the four-level ship was carrying 406 Chinese passengers, five travel agency employees and 47 crew members. It sank in the Damazhou waterway section, where the river is 15 metres deep. Most of the passengers were 50 to 80 years of age.
The Huffington Post Reports: CCTV reported that 6 inches (150 millimeters) of rain had fallen in the region over the past 24 hours. Local media reported winds reached 80 mph (130 kph) during the accident.
CBC reports the river is now calm, with dozens of rescue personnel in bright orange vests gathered on the shore. Several rescue ships were searching the waters, and submersible craft had been deployed.
CNN reports that rescuers are trying to reach the people they believe are inside the cabin, it said.The Eastern Star was reported to have been traveling from Nanjing in eastern China to Chongqing, a city more than 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) inland.
The New York Times reports: Most of the 458 passengers aboard a chartered cruise ship were still missing on Tuesday morning more than 12 hours after it sank. Hundreds of soldiers, police and paramilitary officers are on the scene along with more than 100 boats and divers but fewer than a dozen people had been rescued indicating that this could be the worst such disaster since the South Korean ferry Sewol last year.
The ship, whose name translates to Oriental Star, was crossing Hubei Province in the middle of the country when it sank at 9:28 p.m.