China working to upright capsized Eastern Star

World Today

An operation is underway to right the capsized ship. (CCTV News photo)

It has been more than three days since the Eastern Star, a cruise ship en route from Nanjing to Chongqing, capsized in the Yangtze River in central China’s Hubei Province. With every hour that goes by, the air in the ship grows thinner, and the chances of saving lives lessen.

Explainer on how the Eastern Star will be uprighted

Explainer on how the Eastern Star will be uprighted

Rescue teams will try to upright the capsized cruise ship the Eastern Star on Thursday.


Zhu Yuzhu, a professor at Dalian Maritime University, in northeast China’s Liaoning province, discusses how the Eastern Star will be uprighted.

Rescue workers have retrieved 82 bodies so far as Chinese officials began offering their condolences to relatives of the boat sinking victims.

Only 14 people have been found alive, including the captain and chief engineer, since the ship carrying 456 people capsized. More than 370 remain missing. Rescuers cut a 55-by-60-cm rectangular hole on the bottom of the overturned ship Wednesday night. It is the third hole that’s been opened.

A bollard is a short, thick post on the deck of a ship or on a wharf, to which a ship's rope may be secured.

A bollard is a short, thick post on the deck of a ship or on a wharf, to which a ship’s rope may be secured.

Rescue teams will try to right the capsized cruise ship. Wang Zhigang, general manager at the Wuhan branch of China Classification Society and helping direct the rescue, said turning the ship back upright shows respect for those who have perished. “After all, their bodies shouldn’t be in the water for too long.”

Timeline of Eastern Star capsize

Timeline of Eastern Star capsize

Timeline of the deadly Eastern Star capsize on the Yangtze River in China on Monday.

The head of the county where the boat sank said the entire local population offered their condolences to families of the victims.

“The government of Jianli County, and the entire county of 1.56 million people are heartbroken, they all feel total sorrow and grief,” said head commissioner of Jianli county, Huang Zhen. “We feel deep grief for the families of the victims.”

Scores of grieving relatives have descended on Jianli county, hoping to find out the latest developments in the rescue and recovery efforts.

“Over 50 percent of the families have already arrived in Jianli. We attach much importance to the psychological treatment for the family members, because a number of them will be full of feelings of grief,” Huang added.

But an official from the ministry of civil affairs, Zhang Shifeng, said the relatives could not be given free reign of the rescue site.

Candles are lit during a vigil to pay respect to victims of the sunken ship in Jianli, in China's Hubei province on June 4, 2015.  Distraught and angry relatives rushed to the site of a capsized cruise ship in China seeking news of their loved ones, as rescue workers recovered dozens of dead bodies. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE

Candles are lit during a vigil to pay respect to victims of the sunken ship in Jianli, in China’s Hubei province on June 4, 2015. Distraught and angry relatives rushed to the site of a capsized cruise ship in China seeking news of their loved ones, as rescue workers recovered dozens of dead bodies. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE

“As long as it does not affect the search and rescue, (the family members) can go to the site in an organised manner and express their feelings for the deceased,” Zhang told reporters. “Let me put it this way, in accordance to the current mindset of the families, every one of them wants to go. But right now, if over 1,000 of them go unorganised, then you can imagine…”

As of 2 p.m. on Thursday, more than 1,200 family members arrived on the banks of Jianli and more than 100 grief counselors were made available. Locals and some hotels in Jianli offered to provide free accommodations to the family members.

Police have detained the captain and chief engineer for questioning. An initial investigation found the ship was not overloaded and had enough life vests on board.

Compiled by wire reports from CCTV News and Reuters


5 survivors receive treatment in local hospital

5 of the 14 survivors are being treated at the local Hospital in Jianli county. Two of them are in Intensive Care.CCTV-America’s Jin Yingqiao files the report from Jianli, China.

5 survivors receive treatment in local hospital

5 survivors receive treatment in local hospital

5 of the 14 survivors are being treated at the local Hospital in Jianli county. Two of them are in Intensive Care. CCTV-America's Jin Yingqiao files the report from Jianli, China


Tim Taylor and Klaus Lunhta on the recovery efforts
For more on the ship disaster and rescue efforts, CCTV America spoke to :

  • Tim Taylor is the President of Tiburon Subsea Services, a corporation dedicated to ocean research and exploration.
  • Klaus Lunhta is a maritime attorney and a highly experienced Deep-Ocean Ship Captain.
Tim Taylor and Klaus Lunhta on the recovery efforts

Tim Taylor and Klaus Lunhta on the recovery efforts

For more on the ship disaster and rescue efforts, CCTV America spoke to: Tim Taylor is the President of Tiburon Subsea Services, a corporation dedicated to ocean research and exploration. Klaus Lunhta is a maritime attorney and a highly experienced Deep-Ocean Ship Captain.

  • Prayers from America for the families of the stricken, and to all citizens of China.