Rescuers work at the ship sinking site in the Jianli section of the Yangtze River in central China's Hubei Province June 2, 2015. A passenger ship carrying 458 people sunk Monday night in the Yangtze River. (Photo/IC)
Ten people have been rescued as of Tuesday morning as rescuers are battling strong winds and downpour to hunt for the others on a passenger ship carrying 458 people that had sank overnight in China's Yangtze River.[Special coverage]
The ship, which departed from the eastern Chinese city Nanjing and is bound for Chongqing Municipality in southwest China, sank "within one or two minutes" after being caught in a cyclone, according to the ship's captain and chief engineer.
The incident occurred at around 9:28 p.m. Monday in the Jianli (Hubei Province) section of the Yangtze, China's longest river, according to the Yangtze River navigation administration.
Authorities have located the site where the ship sank. Part of the ship, which turned upside down, has emerged. More than 30 boats have been dispatched for the rescue.
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The ship was momentarily overturned "by strong winds on a scale of 12 (up 130 km per hour) when cruising at the Jianli section," local newspaper Hubei Daily quoted the meteorological organ as saying. The claim cannot be independently verified by Xinhua.
Maritime authorities said most of the passengers are elderly people who signed up on a travel tour in Shanghai.
There were 406 passengers, five travel agency tour guides and 47 crew members aboard, according to the administration. All passenger boarded from Nanjing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered a work team of the State Council to rush to the site to guide search and rescue work, and ordered Hubei, Chongqing and relevant parties to carry out all-out search and rescue efforts and properly handle the aftermath.
He also ordered beefing up public safety measures and ensuring the safety of people's lives.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has instructed a work team of the State Council to rush to the site to guide search and rescue work and ordered the Ministry of Transport and other relevant parties to mobilize all resources available to speed up the search and rescue work and the treatment of the rescued victims.
On behalf of Xi, Li Keqiang has left for the site of the accident to guide rescue and emergency handling affairs.