news Tuesday, June 02, 2015 - 05:30
 
Image for representation
 
Twenty people have been saved as of Tuesday morning as rescuers battle strong winds and a heavy downpour while searching for the others on a passenger
ship, carrying 458 people, that sank overnight in China's Yangtze River.
 
The ship, named Dongfangzhixing, or Eastern Star, sank at around 9.30 p.m. in the Jianli -- Hubei province -- section of the Yangtze River, Xinhua
reported, citing the river navigation administration. It had the capacity to carry over 500 people.
 
The captain and the chief engineer, who were rescued, claimed the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone.
 
There were 406 Chinese passengers, five travel agency workers and 47 crew members aboard, according to the administration.
 
It was headed towards south-west China's Chongqing city from Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu province.
 
According to the Yangtze River navigation administration, 20 people have been rescued so far.
 
Authorities have located the site where the ship sank and more than 30 boats have been dispatched for the rescue.
 
A report by People's Daily said seven people had swum to shore to raise the alarm.

Heavy rain is expected throughout the day, weather sources said.

Dozens of vessels are helping in the search and rescue operation, including fishing boats. Over 1,000 police officers have also been dispatched to the site.
 
Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered a state council team to guide search and rescue work.
 
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has instructed the ministry of transport to mobilise all resources available to speed up the search and rescue work, and the
treatment of the rescued victims.
 
Li has left for the site of the accident, on behalf of Xi, to supervise rescue affairs. 
 
The Eastern Star was owned by the Chongqing Eastern Shipping Corporation, which runs tours along the Yangtze river. The company has been operating since 1967.
 
With IANS

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