Rescue teams searched frantically for survivors in China’s Yangtze River on Tuesday morning, hours after a passenger ship carrying over 450 people capsized in rough weather on Monday night, according to state-backed news outlets.
Chinese President Xi Jinping issued an order for rescue teams to join “all-out” search efforts for possible survivors of the accident, as the country’s Premier Li Keqiang traveled to the scene to personally oversee the operation in central Hubei province.
However, the Associated Press reported that unfavorable weather conditions and low visibility were hampering ongoing search-and-rescue operations.
Officials believe that at least 458 people were aboard the vessel, named the Eastern Star, including 406 Chinese tourists, five guides and at least 47 crew members, after it embarked from Nanjing en route to the city of Chongqing earlier this week.
State broadcaster CCTV reported that only 13 people had been rescued, among them the ship’s captain and chief engineer, who have both been taken in for questioning by authorities, according to Reuters. At least five bodies have been recovered so far.
Local media outlets say that a majority of the passengers are believed to be between the ages of 50 and 80 years old.
More than 90 of the passengers aboard the Eastern Star are said to have joined the trip through a travel agency in Shanghai. According to a tweet posted by CCTV on Tuesday morning, family members have begun congregating outside the agency’s offices waiting for new news from the scene.
The Eastern Star is owned by the Chongqing Eastern Shipping Corp., which offers tour packages in the country’s popular Three Gorges region.
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