Cruise Ship Capsizes In China, Leaving Hundreds Unaccounted For
Update, 12:40 a.m ET:
The death toll is at 18 early Wednesday in the sinking of a cruise ship on China's Yangtze River, Reuters reports, and the government has corrected the number of those rescued to 14, down from 15.
China's government-run CCTV reports that salvage ships are on hand to attempt to breach the hull of the ship. Hundreds of people are still unaccounted for 36 hours after the ship capsized.
More than 100 additional divers are scheduled to begin work at the site today, but storm weather, fast currents and fifty feet of water have made for challenging conditions for the rescuers, the Associated Press reports.
According to The Associated Press, the vessel was carrying more than 400 people and authorities have rescued 15.
The AP reports:
"The cruise was from Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing, and many of those aboard were elderly.
"Some of the survivors swam ashore, but others were rescued more than 12 hours after the ship went down, after search teams climbed aboard the upside-down hull and heard people calling out from within."
The official Xinhua News Agency reported that both the captain and the chief engineer of the ship have been rescued.
The agency said both of them "claimed the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone."
"Relatives and friendsof passengers jammed the fifth floor of an office building that houses river cruise organizer Shanghai Xiehe Travel Agency, asking for information about those onboard. Many said the tour agency hadn't informed them about the accident and that they only learned of it from media accounts.
" 'How can they be so irresponsible? There has been no word from them,' said 59-year-old Ji Fumin, who said his wife, his wife's aunt and a friend were on board the ship. ...
"Authorities said they were trying to piece together what had happened to the Eastern Star on Monday night as it passed through Jianli county in central Hubei province. The area has experienced heavy rains in recent days."
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