China Races To Rescue Passengers From Capsized River Cruise Ship

Eastern-Star Ship China
A rescue team heads out to search for survivors of a cruise ship which overturned in the Yangtze river carrying more than 400 people. Source: Bloomberg

 Zhe Huang (Bloomberg) Rescuers in central China scrambled to find survivors from the cruise ship Eastern-Star carrying more than 400 people that overturned in the Yangtze river Monday night, with state media reporting this morning that Premier Li Keqiang was en route to oversee those efforts.

The ship capsized after being caught in a cyclone as it was traveling westward from the city of Nanjing to Chongqing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the vessel’s captain and its chief engineer who were rescued. Conflicting accounts of how many passengers have been rescued ranged from 12 as reported by the Hubei Daily to 30 as reported by CQNews.net, a news website based in Chongqing.

Vice Premier Ma Kai is traveling with Premier Li to the scene of the accident in Jianli county of Hubei province, Xinhua reported. President Xi Jinping also called for all-out efforts to rescue passengers, Xinhua reported.

China Central Television’s morning broadcast included brief footage from a local wharf without images of the rescuers or the overturned ship. The state broadcaster reported continuing rain in the area, where precipitation has totaled more than 150.6 millimeters (6 inches) in the past 24 hours.

The ship that capsized had capacity for 534 passengers and was being operated by a company in Chongqing that offers leisure trips along the Yangtze, CCTV reported.

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to reflect CCTV’s mistake in the ship’s travel direction.)

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