Hundreds were fear dead on Tuesday after a Chinese cruise ship, with 458 people on board, sank in a storm.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported late Tuesday afternoon that 18 people have survived, including an 85-year-old woman. Survivors swam ashore and five have been confirmed dead in the accident. Other passengers, most of who are between 50 and 80 years old, are still missing.
June 3 rd, 2015
Huang Yan (49), an accountant from Shanghai, wept as she told a reporter that she believes her husband, who is also 49, and her father in his 70s were among the missing passengers. She was unsure whether they are alive because she had not seen the passenger list yet.
Captain abandoned ship
Yan also said the captain had abandoned the ship while passengers were still trapped inside.
"Why did the captain leave the ship while the passengers were still missing?"
"We want the government to release the name list to see who was on the boat."
The captain and the chief engineer were rescued and are now kept in custody.
According to the broadcaster, the Eastern Star had been carrying 406 Chinese passengers, 47 crew members and 5 travel agency employees. It was heading from the Eastern city of Nanjing to Chongging in the South-west, a journey of at least 1500km.
According to the rescued captain and the engineer, the ship sank quickly after it got caught in the cyclone.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has told rescue teams that no effort should be spared during the rescue operation. Prime Minister Li Kegian was heading to the scene of the accident in central Hubei province.
More than 50 boats and 3,000 people have been deployed to find the missing passengers.
The ship measured 76.5 m long and 36 m wide and was capable of carrying a maximum of 534 people.
This is perhaps one of the worst passenger maritime disasters in East Asia after the South Korean ferry Sewolsank last year.
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