Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Shocking: #Chinese ship carrying more than 400 tourists sinks on #Yangtze River

Hundred of passengers remain unaccounted for more than 12 hours after a ship carrying 458 people sank in China’s Yangtze River, according to Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency.

The captain and chief engineer, who were reportedly among at least a dozen passengers rescued, told Xinhua that the ship sank within one or two minutes after being caught in a cyclone around 9:30 p.m. Monday. Another five people are confirmed dead.

The four-tier Dongfangzhixing or “Eastern Star,” was carrying five travel agency workers, 47 crew members and 406 Chinese passengers. Most of the passengers were between 50 and 80 years old and were traveling as part of a tour arranged by the state-owned Shanghai Xiehe Travel Agency. The youngest was only three, according to Xinhua.

The boat was en route from the the eastern city of Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing, more than 850 miles away. It capsized in Jianli County in Hubei Province, about 600 miles west of Shanghai.

It’s not immediately clear what caused the ship to sink so quickly. Though local media has reported stormy weather in the area around the time of the accident, the New York Times noted that the Chinese term for tornado or cyclone could describe a range of weather:

In Chinese, the term for tornado, longjuanfeng, is used more loosely than Americans use its English equivalent. One report in a Chinese newspaper said that a “tornado,” with winds of about 50 miles per hour, had struck the area around the time the ship was reported to have capsized. Winds of that strength are associated with twisters near or below the lowest rung on the six-level scale used in the United States to measure tornadoes.

Amid the chaos of rescue, reports conflict on the total number of people who have been pulled from the ship, which appears almost entirely submerged in the 50-foot-deep water.

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