A cruise ship carrying more than 450 people sank in the Yangtze River overnight, in what could be China's worst sinking disaster in decades.[Special coverage]
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 14 people had been rescued from the capsized vessel, with five others confirmed dead, according to Yang Chuantang, minister of transport.
The rest are still missing, although rescuers said there could be more survivors. Strong winds and heavy rain are hampering rescue efforts.
The Eastern Star sank in only 15 meters of water "within one or two minutes" of being caught in freak weather in Jianli, Hubei Province, central China, according to the ship's captain and chief engineer who survived the incident.
The ship left the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing on May 28 bound for Chongqing Municipality on the upper reaches of China's longest river.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has despatched a State Council work team to the site to guide search and rescue work, and ordered all-out efforts. Premier Li Keqiang is at the scene of the accident.
The ship was carrying 405 passengers, five tour guides, and 46 crew, rather than the previously reported 47. Most passengers were tourists from Shanghai and its neighboring province of Jiangsu, aged between 3 and 83, with most in their 60s and 70s.
The 76.5-meter-long 11-meter-wide vessel has been in service for nearly 20 years and can carry up to 534 people. It is owned by Chongqing Dongfang Shipping. Waterway officials in Chongqing said they have no record of the company being involved in any pervious sinking incidents.
Police, waterway authorities and fire departments have sent more than 150 boats and over 4,000 personnel to the scene.
The Chinese Navy has sent diving forces to search for the missing. The team is composed of soldiers from the navy's fleets in the North Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea, as well as students of the Naval University of Engineering.
In addition, five helicopters were dispatched from Beijing and Hubei's provincial capital of Wuhan on Tuesday morning, along with an IL-76 transport plane.
Three divers found one 21-year-old man in a small compartment Tuesday afternoon. He was given diving apparatus and was able to swim out by himself.
According to China Central Meteorological Station, most of the Yangtze basin will be subject to downpours over the next 10 days, with heavy rain expected in the area where the search is underway.