Hu Jianyue (right), survivor of theEastern Star cruise ship disaster. (Photo/Xinhua)
The capsized Eastern Star cruise ship will be moved to allow divers to search for victims at the site.[Special coverage]
With eight victims still missing, the search and rescue headquarters will move the ship as soon as weather and water movements are favorable, Minister of Transport Yang Chuantang said Monday.
"A glimmer of hope deserves all-out efforts," he said.
Ministry sources said on Saturday the search for the missing victims would be extended for nearly 1,300 km along the Yangtze River between Jianli in Hubei Province, where the ship sank, downstream to the Wusong Estuary in Shanghai.
The Eastern Star with 456 people onboard was on an 11-day trip along the Yangtze when it was overturned by a tornado last Monday night.
Fourteen people survived the disaster. As of Monday, rescuers had retrieved the bodies of 434 victims.
Shipwreck survivor also survived Wenchuan quake
They say cats have seven lives, and it seems some people are twice lucky, too. Yu Zhengwei, a vendor on the capsized ship Eastern Star, survived not only the cruise tragedy that claimed the lives of more than 400, but also the Wenchuan earthquake that left more than 80,000 dead in 2008.
Wang Shengcai, a villager from Fuxing village, Sanzhou county, Jianli county, which is about 20 km away from the accident site, found Yu lying on the bank of the river in the early morning on June 2.
Wang took Yu home and called the police.
According to Yu, his wife and he had a contract with the ship company to sell food and snacks on the vessel. They had worked on the ship for three trips before but this time the disaster struck.
At the night of the accident on June 1, which incidentally happened to be his 44 birthday, Yu went on the deck to collect his clothes he had left there to dry when heavy storm and rain hit the ship. Suddenly the vessel leaned sharply and he was thrown away.
Luckily, he was able to grab a life buoy and held on to it tightly until he was found seven hours later.
Yu went back to Chongqing while his two relatives stayed in Jianli for any news about his wife.
Two passengers found their fates tied to one life buoy when theEastern Starcruiser sank in the Yangtze River.
Hu Jianyue, 56, who was watching people playing mahjong on the third-floor deck of the cruiser, was thrown into the water when the ship overturned and sank on Monday night.
Hu felt a life buoy in the darkness and grabbed it. After floating for a while, he found a companion.
"When a man put his hand on my life buoy I was terribly nervous," said Hu. "I feared he might take it away from me. But the stranger also looked nervous".
"One life buoy for two people, it was dangerous if we fought for it," said Xie Yong (alias), a 63-year-old who was also thrown into the water. "So I just kept silent."
The two floated on the river together and "shouted for help in turn when seeing boat near".
Three hours later, they were rescued up by a passing boat.