Final death toll in capsized cruise ship at 442

World Today

In this Sunday, June 7, 2015 photo, rescuers work on the raised capsized ship Eastern Star on the Yangtze River in Jianli county of southern China’s Hubei province. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The final death toll rose to 442 as bodies of the last several missing people aboard the capsized Yangtze River cruise ship Eastern Star had been found, a rescue official said on Saturday.

Only 12 people survived the disaster on the night of June 1, Tang Guanjun, director of the Yangtze River Navigation Affairs Administration, told a press briefing.

Earlier 456 people were reported onboard the cruise ship and 14 survived. Tang explained that the final revisions were made after further check-ups and verifications.

He said rescuers from different agencies made repeated calculations of the number of survivors. All the dead had been identified after DNA testings and the bodies had been transferred to the relatives, Tang said. A total of 426 bodies had been cremated by Saturday afternoon.

Rescue and search operations have ended, but investigation is still under way, he said.

The Eastern Star, with 403 tourists, 46 crew members and five travel agency staff aboard, was on an 11-day trip along the Yangtze River when it was overturned by a tornado on the night of June 1.

The 76.5-meter vessel had been in service for nearly 20 years and can carry up to 534 people. It went through an annual maintenance in late 2014, and was qualified to cruise until April 25, 2016.

Report by Xinhua.