Death toll jumps in Yangtze River capsizing

World Today

Salvage mission continues on Yangtze River

Disaster teams searched the Yangtze River on Saturday for the bodies of dozens of missing passengers from the Eastern Star as the death toll from the capsizing rose to nearly 400.

Authorities have attributed the overturning of the ship late on Monday to sudden, severe winds, but also have placed the captain and his first engineer in police custody.

Passengers’ relatives have raised questions about whether the ship should have continued its cruise in the wake of reports of a storm in Hubei province and a weather warning earlier in the evening.

The death toll rose to 396 after hundreds more bodies were found on Friday night and Saturday, including that of a three-year-old girl found on the top deck, officials said.

Authorities have issued a request to all river traffic along the river as far as Shanghai, 1,000 kilometres downstream, to alert them if they notice any floating bodies. A total of 46 people were still missing on Saturday.

The boat had more than 450 people aboard, many of them elderly tourists, taking a cruise from Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing.

Fourteen people survived, including three pulled out by divers from air pockets in the overturned hull on Tuesday.

One of the survivors, a tour guide from Shanghai interviewed by state media, was recovering on Saturday at a hospital in Yueyang, in the neighbouring province of Hunan.

“I’m recovering and day by day I feel a little bit better. I can get out of bed and move about a little bit. The doctor ordered that I need to take care of my emotional well-being,” Zhang Hui told the TV cameras.

Related: How to right a capsized ship

In depth: The Eastern Star disaster

CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reports on the operation.

The ship salvage processing on the Yangtze

The ship salvage processing on the Yangtze

China's worst maritime disaster in 65 years is unfolding. CCTV-America's Jim Spellman is monitoring the ship salvage.


Jim Staples on the recovery efforts
For more on the ship disaster, CCTV-America spoke to Captain Jim Staples. He is a maritime consultant.

Jim Staples on the recovery efforts

Jim Staples on the recovery efforts

For more on the ship disaster, CCTV-America spoke to Captain Jim Staples. He is a maritime consultant.


CCTV America’s Asieh Namdar interviewed Tim Taylor, the president of Tiburon Subsea Services about the salvage efforts on the Yangtze River following the Eastern Star capsize.

Tim Taylor discusses Eastern Star salvage efforts

Tim Taylor discusses Eastern Star salvage efforts

CCTV America's Asieh Namdar interviewed Tim Taylor, the president of Tiburon Subsea Services about the salvage efforts on the Yangtze River following the Eastern Star capsize.


Fourteen people survived, including three pulled out by divers from air pockets in the overturned hull on Tuesday.

Disaster teams put chains around the hull and used cranes to roll the banged-up, white and blue boat upright and then gradually lift it out of the gray currents of the Yangtze on Friday.

China’s deadliest maritime disaster in recent decades was the Dashun ferry, which caught fire and capsized off Shandong province in November 1999, killing about 280.

The Eastern Star disaster could become the country’s worst since the sinking of the SS Kiangya off Shanghai in 1948, which is believed to have killed anywhere from 2,750 to nearly 4,000 people.

Report compiled with information from CCTV and The Associated Press.

  • Condolences from America for all the victims and their families.