A Chinese ferry has reportedly sunk in the Hubei section of China’s Yangtze River late on Monday. So far, it has been confirmed 458 were on board and one person has died. According to The Guardian, this person was a tour guide. Another four guides are reported as missing, as are 47 other crew members. The Guardian has also reported the nationalities of the people on board:
- 204 are from Jiangsu
- 97 from Shanghai
- 43 from Tianjin
- 23 from Shandong
- 19 from Fujian
- 11 from Zhejiang
- 8 from Anhui
According to ABC Australia, the ship, named the Eastern Star, was travelling from Nanjing to Chongqing when it capsized and sunk in the Yangtze River. When rescuers bought in the captain and chief engineer, the captain reported the ferry sunk into the Yangtze River due to being caught in a cyclone. At the time of publication, there have been varying reports of unconfirmed rescues from the sunken ferry, but it is assumed somewhere in the vicinity of 10-20 people have been rescued so far. While the captain has reported the ferry was caught in a cyclone before capsizing into the Yangtze River, it is still unclear if this happened. Bad weather conditions, including strong winds and heavy rain, are hampering rescue efforts.
While concerns are being raised as to how many people will be rescued from the ferry, the People’s Daily has reported sounds and contact with people on board the ferry can still be heard.
People ALIVE: Rescuers hear response inside after knocking on the ship, according to Yangtze River navigation admin. pic.twitter.com/hn9u5wfEyg
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) June 2, 2015
CCTV News have also reported sounds from the Yangtze River ferry sinking. Local media has also reported the age bracket of the majority of people on board as between 50 and 80-years-old.
The ferry capsized in a section of the Yangtze River that, in places, is only 15 meters (approximately 49 feet) deep. As a result, rescuers have been seen standing on top of the vessel as it remains submerged upside down in the Yangtze River.
The Chinese president Xi Jinping has requested “all out rescue efforts” to help save the people currently trapped below the waters of the Yangtze River. Premier Li Keqiang has backed him up while Vice Premier Ma Kai and State Councilor Yang Jing were on their way to the Yangtze River.
This isn’t the first vessel to sink in recent times into the Yangtze River. Back in January, a tugboat sunk, killing 22 people. As a result of this, China has been trying to make changes to water safety on the Yangtze River. However, the ferry that sank on Monday was currently “undergoing trials without properly complying with government regulations” according to ABC Australia.
Only two years ago, the Yangtze River turned red and no one could work out why, here’s hoping it wasn’t an ominous sign of things to come.
[Image credits: People’s Daily Twitter account / Yuan Zheng/EPA]