Yangtze River Ship Sinks, Chinese Ferry Disaster’s Death Toll May Be High Despite Rescue [Video]

As the Yangtze River ship sinks, authorities are worried the death toll for the Chinese ferry disaster may be in the hundreds.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, the Chinese ferry, the Eastern Star, was confirmed to be carrying 458 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

When rescuers brought in the captain and chief engineer, the captain reported the Yangtze River ship sank due to rough weather and a tornado. The Chinese ferry was flipped over with the underside visible from the water’s surface. While some managed to escape the sinking, hundreds were trapped inside, and even hours after the rescue efforts started, it was claimed that sounds from within the vessel could be heard.

Tour guide Zhang Hui is one of the seven survivors to swim ashore, and he described the Yangtze River ship sinking very quickly. He only barely made it out a window while clutching a life vest.

“Wave after wave crashed over me; I swallowed a lot of water,” Zhang said, adding that he had to swim to shore alone since passing ships did not see him in the rough weather.

The bad weather also delayed rescue operations, although nearly 200 rescue divers will be active at the accident site by Wednesday local time. Rescuers are trying to cut through the ship’s hull with an angle grinder, but it’s feared they may be too late for the hundreds still trapped inside.

“We thought going out to have some fun on the boat would be really good. How could it come to be that something like this happened? We never imagined it, really never imagined it,” a man identified as a friend or relative of one of the cruise ship’s passengers told reporters, according to Reuters.

Distraught relatives have been trying to get more information out of officials, but police have been guarding the room where survivors are being treated.

“I only found out about this on the television news while I was at work and I came here,” said 35-year-old Wang Sheng, whose said his mother and father were on board. “I cried all the way here and here I can’t find anyone, the door is locked.”

One of the people rescued from the capsized boat was a 65-year-old woman. Divers used breathing equipment to bring her up from under the water, and about another 15 people have been rescued in this manner. The Chinese ferry’s death toll may be quite high as chances to find more survivors diminish with every passing hour. Six bodies have been recovered, and Chinese media reports that more than 430 people are unaccounted for as rescue efforts continue.

[Image via ABC]

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