The ship is fully turned over. Over 450 people were onboard the Eastern Star when it sank on Monday night after being hit by a tornado in Jianli, Hubei Province. The incident could become China's deadliest shipping accident in almost seven decades. (Photo/Weibo)
The death toll from a Chinese cruise ship that capsized on the Yangtze River has climbed to 97, the Ministry of Transport said Friday.[Special coverage]
Xu Chengguang, the ministry's spokesman, said at a press conference that by 10:20 a.m., 97 bodies have been retrieved from the ship that had 456 people onboard when it capsized Monday night.
Some 50 divers worked overnight to tie slings around the 2,200-tonne ship so that it can be hoisted over.
With rescuers working through the night, the ship was righted at about 9 a.m. Friday, and the Chinese characters of "Eastern Star" could be seen on one side of the hull.
Xu said oil leaking from the ship was found in the river water. Blankets have been placed to help contain it.
The cruise ship, carrying mainly elderly tourists, was on a 11-day trip along the Yangtze River when it was immediately overturned by a tornado on Monday night in Jianli in central China's Hubei Province. Only 14 people have been found alive so far.
More than 3,400 soldiers, 1,700 paramilitary people together with 149 vessels, 59 machines and a helicopter have joined in the rescue mission. (Updated)