Passenger ship with over 450 people sinks in Chinese river

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A ship carrying more than 400 people and some 50 crew members from the eastern Chinese Jiangsu province to the southwestern city of Chongqing sank in the Yangtze River, local authorities have said. No more than 20 people are known to have been rescued.

The vessel sank Monday night in the Jianli County, Hubei Province, according to the Yangtze River Navigation Administration cited by Xinhua. The ship, named Dongfangzhixing (Eastern Star), was heading to Chongqing from the city of Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province.

The boat was carrying 405 passengers, five travel agency workers and 47 crew members at the time of the accident, the agency reported.

Rescue operations began overnight, but no details have emerged on the number of casualties. CCTV reported that up to 20 people are known to have been rescued; while Xinhua’s report indicates only seven have been saved.

According to Dongfangzhixing’s captain and chief engineer, who were among the rescued, the ship abruptly sank after being hit by a cyclone.

Strong wind and heavy rain are still hampering the rescue work.

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