Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Wednesday sent to her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi a letter of condolences over the Yangtze River cruise ship capsize accident on Monday, which could be the worst ship accident in China in decades.[Special coverage]
"I was deeply saddened to learn about the tragic accident on the Yangtze River in Hubei on Monday evening," the letter said.
"On behalf of the Australian government and the people of Australia, I wish to extend condolences for those who have lost their lives and to express sympathy to their families and all those affected by the tragic accident."
"My thoughts are with the Chinese people as the search and rescue effort continues," Bishop said in the letter.
More than 450 people were on board the Eastern Star on the Yangtze River when it was sunk by a tornado in Jianli, Hubei Province late Monday night. As of Wednesday evening, rescuers have found 14 survivors, and retrieved 26 bodies, leaving more than 400 people still unaccounted for.