China fears 400 dead in sunk cruiser in Yangtze River

(AGI) Beijing, June 2 - A cruiser ship loaded with Chinesetourists, prevalently retired seniors although there was also a3-year-old child on board, sank in the Yangtze, the longestriver in Asia and third-longest in the world. The ship sank ina question of minutes. It was one of the company's mostluxurious boats, although a 13-day cruise only costs 160dollars. The hull remained afloat for a while although very fewpassengers managed to survive. Over 400 people are stillunaccounted for 24 hours after the sinking of the "EasternStar". For China, this is the worst tragedy

(AGI) Beijing, June 2 - A cruiser ship loaded with Chinesetourists, prevalently retired seniors although there was also a3-year-old child on board, sank in the Yangtze, the longestriver in Asia and third-longest in the world. The ship sank ina question of minutes. It was one of the company's mostluxurious boats, although a 13-day cruise only costs 160dollars. The hull remained afloat for a while although very fewpassengers managed to survive. Over 400 people are stillunaccounted for 24 hours after the sinking of the "EasternStar". For China, this is the worst tragedy of this type indecades. Out of the 458 people on board, five died andabout 15 were rescued while hundreds are reported missing: 405passengers, 46 crew members and five tour guides. The accidentoccurred at 9:30 p.m. on Monday night, not far from the city ofJingzhou, in the Hubei province, in a section of the riverwhere the water is approximately 15 metres deep. Three bodieswere recovered about 50 km downstream, confirming the speed ofthe current and the difficulty faced by the rescue teams amidstgushing winds and pounding rain. Chinese national TV showedimages of rescue teams, wearing the characteristic orange vest,on top of the hull of the capsized boat: one of the rescuers islying down and beats the hull with a hammer, waits for ananswer and then gesticulates frantically. Some voices ofsurvivors were heard coming from inside the ship, some sourcessaid, although rescuers could not do much as the ship capsizedand sank in a question of seconds, reported some survivors. Thearea has been battered by terrible weather conditions. A mancalled Zhang Hu managed to survive by hanging on to a life buoyfor 10 hours, even if he could not swim. He said that the boatstarted having problems when the rain started coming in throughthe windows and flooding the cabins. Many passengers then wentinside to avoid getting wet and the boat tilted 45 degrees. Thecaptain and the chief engineer were brought to safety andsubsequently arrested. The boat, which emitted no alarm signal,ended up in the middle of a cyclone, sources reported.. .