Chinese ferry capsizes in Yangtze river leaving more than 400 missing

1 June 2015 (Last Updated June 1st, 2015 18:30)

More than 400 people are missing after a Chinese passenger ferry carrying 458 people onboard capsized on the Yangtze River in central Hubei province.

More than 400 people are missing after a Chinese passenger ferry carrying 458 people onboard capsized on the Yangtze River in central Hubei province.

Xinhua news agency citied Yangtze River navigation administration as saying that the vessel, Dongfangzhixing (Eastern Star), capsized after losing control in a cyclone in the Jianli section of the river.

The ship is said to have been laid upturned in around 15m of water.

"Initial investigations have revealed that the vessel was not overloaded and was carrying a sufficient number of life vests onboard."

Recent media reports state that at least 18 people have been rescued, and that five bodies have been recovered.

The ferry was on its way to south-west China’s Chongqing city from Nanjing, in the Jiangsu province.

The four-decked tourist boat was carrying 405 Chinese passengers, five travel agency workers and 47 crew members. Most of the tourists were elderly Chinese people.

Initial investigations have revealed that the vessel was not overloaded and was carrying a sufficient number of life vests onboard.

Rescue efforts are underway by fishing boats, as well as more than 1,000 armed police officers from the Hubei Armed Police Corps with the support of 40 inflatable boats.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the State Council team to integrate all resources available to aid the search and rescue work.