A senior woman is saved from the water near the capsized ship Eastern Star, which overturned in the Jianli section of the Yangtze River in Hubei province, on Monday night. (Photo/Xinhua)
Fourteen people have been rescued and seven are confirmed dead more than 24 hours after a passenger ship carrying 456 people capsized in China's Yangtze River, navigation authorities said Tuesday. [Special coverage]
Rescuers said there could be more survivors in the upturned wreckage, but strong winds and heavy rain are hampering rescue efforts. More than 430 people are still missing.
The Eastern Star sank "within one or two minutes" of being caught in a tornado in Jianli, central Hubei Province, on Monday night, according to the ship's captain and chief engineer, who both survived the incident.
The Changjiang (Yangtze) River Administration of Navigational Affairs, under the Ministry of Transport, said that as of 9 p.m., 12 people had been rescued from the water, and another two were rescued from the wreckage.
Divers are combing the compartments for survivors, while the search on the river has expanded to 150 km downstream of the site and will continue to 220 km, said Li Jiang, vice head of the administration.
A team of 4,000, including police, fire fighters and soldiers from the Chinese Navy, are involved in the rescue mission.
Carrying mostly elderly tourists, the ship left the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing on May 28 for Chongqing Municipality on the upper reaches of China's longest river.
The Ministry of Transport said there were 456 people onboard, including 405 passengers, 46 crew and five tour guides.
Most of the passengers were from Shanghai and its neighboring province Jiangsu, aged between 3 and 83. The majority were in their 60s and 70s.
The ship's captain and chief engineer are in police custody.