The Slatest

More Than 400 Missing After Cruise Ship Capsizes in Yangtze River

Rescue craft around a sunken ship in the the Yangtze River in Hubei province, China.

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

A nightmare scenario in China: More than 400 people, many of them older tourists, are missing after a cruise ship capsized in the Yangtze River during heavy storms. The accident took place approximately a day ago with 458 people on board. Only 15 survivors have been found, though there is some hope that others are alive—the ship has overturned but has not fully sunk. From the New York Times:

Images released Tuesday afternoon by the Chinese state media showed boats swarming around the capsized vessel and rescue workers on the keel, which lay above the waterline in muddy water, perpendicular to the riverbank. Xinhua reported that rescuers had cut into the ship in an attempt to reach possible survivors. As night fell, the scene was illuminated by powerful lights … When possible, air is pumped into an overturned vessel from below as the exposed hull is cut open, in an attempt to maintain air pockets in the hull and reduce the risk that the vessel will descend deeper even if it has been dragged into shallow water.

A tornado may have contributed to the Monday accident, with winds of at least 74 mph and heavy rain reported. The Yangtze is reportedly up to 50 feet deep in the area where the ship sank:

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The ship, the Oriental Star, was en route between the cities of Nanjing (in the eastern Jiangsu province) and Chonqing when the accident took place.