LIVE: 77 bodies have been recovered

Highlights

- Ship sinks at around 9:28 PM Monday night in Yangtze River

- More than 200 divers comb capsized ship, bad weather expected

- 14 survivors

- Premier Li Keqiang visited the wreck site twice and paid respects to those killed

- The ship lies upside down

- The ship planned to drop anchor before tragedy

- The ship wreck has been located in 15-meter-deep water

- Most passengers are senior domestic tourists aged 50-80

- Captain, chief engineer detained

- The travel agency's emergency call number: 13983654321.

- Yangtze River navigation administration: 027-82418021.

Updated: 2015-06-05 09:35

Ship rests on its bottom now

The ship has been turned 180 degrees and rests on its bottom now. Most parts of the hull is still in water. Rescuers will subsequently drain water from the ship before they enter the ship to carry out operation.

 

Updated: 2015-06-05 09:00

Top of the ship emerges from water

After a little over 8:30 am Friday, the top, the fourth and the third deck have emerged from water, Xinhua reported.

 

Updated: 2015-06-05 08:42

Ship being laid on its side

At 7:40 am Friday, the ship has been laid on its side and the four characters in Chinese "Eastern Star" could be seen. The blue hull has also emerged from water, CCTV reported.

 

Updated: 2015-06-05 07:32

Telephone numbers for relatives

Relatives of passengers may call the telephone number to get help: 0716-3387167, CCTV reported.

Updated: 2015-06-05 06:40

82 confirmed dead

By early morning Friday, 82 bodies have been recovered and 14 people found alive, CCTV reported.

Updated: 2015-06-04 21:44

Pray for the missing

Pictures from Global Times show residents in Jianli county pray for more than 300 that are still missing.

Updated: 2015-06-04 19:06

Death toll rises to 77

By 18:00, 77 bodies had been recovered, 14 people survived, while more than 300 are still missing, CCTV reports.

Updated: 2015-06-04 18:56

Rescuers to turn the ship upright and lift the hull

Hubei Daily reports that the rescue workers will turn the ship upright and lift it to drain the water and continue the search. The lifting appliance is to be ready before 20:00. The operation will last about 5 hours.

Updated: 2015-06-04 16:33

75 bodies recovered

By 15:00 Thursday 75 bodies had been recovered, a news conference at the rescue center was told.

Jianli city has provided free accommodation for families of victims. By 14:00 Thursday more than 1,200 family members had arrived.

Updated: 2015-06-04 15:19

CPC leaders order all possible measures to help in rescue

The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee met on Thursday morning to discuss the search-and-rescue operation and the handling of the accident.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior Communist Party of China leaders called on rescuers to "take all possible measures" to save lives after the ship capsized on the Yangtze River Monday night.

A statement issued after the meeting pointed out that the rescue work to deal with the aftermath of the accident has been arduous and all relevant authorities should mobilize all possible forces and take all measures to help in the operations.

Updated: 2015-06-04 14:12

Rescuers cut capsized ship

A marine boat patrols as rescuers work on the capsized ship (center) on the Yangtze River in Jianli county of southern China’s Hubei province, as seen from across the river from Huarong county of southern China’s Hunan province, June 4, 2015. Rescuers cut into the upside-down hull of the cruise liner and pulled out bodies early Thursday.

 

Updated: 2015-06-04 11:57

10m yuan fund to support rescue work

According to the Ministry of Finance, a 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) special fund is earmarked for the rescue work of the cruise ship disaster.

Updated: 2015-06-04 09:58

Cutting work and underwater research continue

The rescuers plan to cut holes at three spots on the hull where survivors are most likely to be found, said He Jianzhong, vice-minister of transport. The holes will be sealed to avoid further sinking if no survivors are found there.

The first hole was cut open last night and sealed. The cutting work at the second spot began at 7:20 am Thursday and now the third hole is also being cut.

At the same time, more than 200 divers continued their underwater search throughout the night.

Updated: 2015-06-04 08:30

65 confirmed dead

By 8:00 am Thursday, 65 bodies have been recovered, 14 found alive, CCTV News reported. Between 21:00 Wednesday and 8:00 am Thursday, 39 more bodies were retrieved.

 

Updated: 2015-06-04 07:17

Photo of captain released

The captain of the sunken cruise ship Eastern Star, Zhang Shunwen, has been under spotlight.

Born in 1963, Zhang has been working for 35 years and became captain of the ship in 2007, according to China News Agency. His experience as a sailor was flawless with numerous awards.

Updated: 2015-06-04 06:42

29 confirmed dead

By 1:00 am Thursday, 14 people have been found alive, 29 bodies recovered and 413 remain missing.

Updated: 2015-06-03 21:10

Rescuers to cut a 55cm-60cm opening

Xinhua reports the cutting work is continuing. Rescuers will create a 55cm-60cm opening on the ship's bottom for divers to gain access.

Updated: 2015-06-03 21:00

Cutting work begins

Pictures from Global Times show rescuers are ready to cut the ship.

Updated: 2015-06-03 19:01

Death toll rises to 26

Up to 6:00 pm, the death toll rises to 26. 15 people survive and more than 400 are still missing, CCTV reports.

Updated: 2015-06-03 18:44

Ship to be hoisted

The rescuers are to hoist the capsized ship using cable wires. The first wire has been put into place, according to Global Times.

Updated: 2015-06-03 18:20

Insurers rush to accident site

PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd, insurer of the ship, has offered 10 million yuan in compensation to the vessel’s owners.

Updated: 2015-06-03 17:19

Weather forecast for the next two days

The wreck site will experience light rain and winds of between 28 km/h and 50 km/h until tomorrow morning. Weather will turn cloudy but improve in the afternoon. Friday will be sunny but fog is expected, with visibility reduced to between 500 and 1,000 meters.

Updated: 2015-06-03 15:39

Taxis offer free ride to relatives of those aboard ship

150 taxis and private vehicles tied yellow ribbons to show that they were voluntarily giving free ride to those whose relatives were on the ship.

Some hotels are offering free rooms to the relatives.

Yellow ribbons, symbol of the help seeking when losing families, represents the blessing from the people. During the earthquake in Wenchuan in 2008, yellow ribbons has become a symbol for people to unite and help each other.

Updated: 2015-06-03 15:33

Cutting will start after 3:30pm

The cutting of the ship will start after 3:30 pm and will take about an hour, according to Modern Express. The internal pressure will add difficulty to the work. Ambulances have arrived at the site.

Updated: 2015-06-03 14:53

Ship will be cut

The capsized cruise ship will be cut this afternoon and rescuers will enter the cabins to conduct further search, Modern Express reported.

Updated: 2015-06-03 14:20

Bad weather may hamper rescue efforts

More than 100 divers are searching the missings underwater while some others are on standby ashore, Ministry of Transport said.

Rainfalls are expected at the site today and precautions should be taken, according to the national observatory.

Updated: 2015-06-03 13:13

38 hours after the ship sank: 424 remain missing

By 11:30 am Wednesday, 14 people have been found alive, 18 bodies recovered and 424 remain missing. The search efforts have expanded downstream more than 200 kilometers and do not affect the normal passage of ships.

Updated: 2015-06-03 11:28

Premier Li thanks divers

Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday expressed his gratitude to divers who have been continuously searching for the missing for more than 24 hours. Li came to the rescue site Wednesday morning in the heavy rain. He said, life is of paramount importance and the burden on your shoulder is extremely heavy. The whole nation is putting their hope on you. You are brave enough to challenge the extremes. I want to urge you to take care of yourselves under the dangerous and difficult circumstances. Please take rest and get back your physical strength.

 

Updated: 2015-06-03 10:43

14 bodies recovered

By 9:30 am Wednesday, 14 people have been found alive and 14 bodies recovered, Xinhua said.

The search-and-rescue operation is divided into three groups: the first is responsible for cutting the bottom of the ship which emerged from water; the second will focus on underwater search; and the third will search along the river.

Updated: 2015-06-03 10:32

Premier Li pays respects to those killed

Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday paid tribute to those killed in the worst recorded ship disaster on the Yangtze River. Li came to the rescue site Wednesday morning in heavy rain and bowed to the bodies of the deceased.

 

Updated: 2015-06-03 09:32

Premier Li visits wreck site again

The search and rescue entered its second day. At around 9:00 am Wednesday, Premier Li Keqiang came to the site on a vessel again and supervised the operation, thepaper.cn reported. His vessel left after about 10 minutes. At 9:18 am, the body of a middle-aged woman was pulled from water.

 

Updated: 2015-06-03 07:37

Last images released

Screenshot of a video shows the four-storey ship on the upper left corner believed to be the Eastern Star cruise liner.

Updated: 2015-06-03 07:15

France sends condolences to China

France on Tuesday sent its condolences to China over the sinking of a cruise boat on the Yangtze River on Monday.

"We were extremely shocked to learn of the sinking. France extends its condolences to the victims' families. Our thoughts are also with the families of the hundreds of people who are missing," Romain Nadal, France's foreign ministry spokesperson, said at a daily e-press briefing.

Updated: 2015-06-03 07:12

Holes drilled on hull

Search and rescue operation continued on Tuesday night. Search teams have cut open holes on the overturned hull, PLA Daily reported, citing Cheng Yong, deputy head of a fire squadron from Hubei province involved in the operation.

Updated: 2015-06-03 07:12

Cruise ship planned to lower anchor

"We will drop anchor behind you," crew of the capsized cruise ship Eastern Star said in a radio talk to a steamboat behind it, Chutian Metropolis Daily reported Tuesday night via its Sina Weibo account, citing captain of the steamboat.

Updated: 2015-06-02 20:43

180 divers at accident scene

Over 110 vessels have been deployed to save passengers trapped inside the sunken ship, says the Ministry of Transport. 183 divers are carrying out underwater search and Chinese Air Force dispatches five helicopters, CCTV reports. Pictures show the scene when night has fallen.

Updated: 2015-06-02 19:38

Tornado hit stricken vessel

A destructive tornado with winds reaching level 12 on the Beaufort scale occurred when the boat capsized, said the China Meteorological Center on Tuesday afternoon.

The tornado lasted 15-20 minutes, hitting the section of Yangtze River where the accident happened with a diameter of less than 1 kilometer.

A meteorological observation station 35 kilometers from the accident site recorded the highest wind speed of 16.4 meters per second. The downpour between 9pm and 10pm on Monday, when the accident took place, produced 64.9mm of rain.

Updated: 2015-06-02 19:03

Survivors being treated

The survivors are being treated at People's Hospital of Jianli county in Jingzhou city, central China's Hubei province, June 2, 2015.

Updated: 2015-06-02 18:53

One more body recovered

One more body was recovered and taken to shore, CCTV reports. Before then, 14 have survived, among whom 2 were rescued by frogmen and five bodies have been recovered.

Updated: 2015-06-02 18:06

"I told myself to hold on."

Zhang Hui, one of those rescued, managed to survive 10 hours in the water by clinging on to some river debris, despite not being able to swim, Xinhua reports. "I told myself to hold on," he said.

Updated: 2015-06-02 17:01

7 passengers swim ashore, call police

Seven passengers swam ashore to call the police, according to CCTV.

Some drifted and floated in turbulent waters of the Yangtze River; others were dragged out of the ferry which was cut open by rescuers more than 12 hours after it capsized Monday night. But more than 400 passengers aboard the ill-fated ship are still missing in the worst traffic accident that the country has seen for years.

Updated: 2015-06-02 16:26

'Uncertain tornado'

Zhang Zuqiang, Director of Department of Emergency Response, Disaster Mitigation and Public Services of China Meteorological Administration, said in the latest news conference that they were still uncertain whether there had been a sudden tornado, but what can be certain is that the area experienced severe weather. He said China Meteorological Administration has sent experts to Hubei province to conduct further investigation.

Updated: 2015-06-02 15:40

Male crew saved

According to the Ministry of Transport, a 21-year-old male crew was rescued at 15:10 pm and he is now in a stable condition. Divers continue to search for more survivors.

Updated: 2015-06-02 15:15

Premier Li tells rescuers to redouble efforts

Premier Li Keqiang urged rescue team to continue searching for survivors without letup after a 65-year-old woman was rescued. Premier Li urged all-out and coordinated efforts to rescue ferry disaster survivors and required news briefing held every hour.

 

Updated: 2015-06-02 14:26

Travel agency defends its credentials

More than 400 tourists on board were organized by Shanghai Xiehe Travel Agency, Beijing News reported. Shanghai tourism authorities said the agency has no problem with its credentials.

Updated: 2015-06-02 13:55

More divers added to rescue team

The Navy has rallied more than 140 divers to search for the missing.

Updated: 2015-06-02 13:44

Key figure - another five found alive

Divers find another five passengers inside the ship after the woman in her 60s was rescued. They are racing against time to rescue them.

Updated: 2015-06-02 13:35

Grey-headed woman rescued

At 12:56 pm, maritime search and rescue center said that divers have successfully rescued a grey-headed woman with her age unknown. She has been lifted to safety by a stretcher and is being treated by medical staff. She broke into tears and uttered "thank you, thank you" to rescuers, according to the teams at the scene.

Updated: 2015-06-02 13:29

Passenger manifest released

The complete manifest of passengers has been released, with the oldest at more than 80 years old and the youngest born in 2012. Most of them were born in 1940s and 1950s, which mean they are in their 60s or 70s.

Updated: 2015-06-02 13:28

Key figure - 12 people rescued

By 11:10 am, 17 people have been pulled from water, with 12 of them alive and 5 bodies, reported Hubei Daily.

Updated: 2015-06-02 13:19

Premier Li arrives at the site

Premier Li Keqiang arrived Tuesday in Jianli of Hubei province to supervise rescue and search operation.

Li boarded a vessel and came close to the ship wreck site to discuss how to rescue the passengers trapped underwater.

Updated: 2015-06-02 13:16

What is known so far

More than 12 hours after ship capsizes in Yangtze River, nine facts have been confirmed.

Updated: 2015-06-02 12:05

Geological expert missed the ship due to heart disease

Yin Jiaheng, a geological expert in Najing, told reporters that he had planned to travel with the family of an ex-classmate on the ship, but cancelled the trip due to heart diseases.

Updated: 2015-06-02 11:50

Pictures

Rescuers listen for sounds of life inside the capsized ship: CCTV.

Updated: 2015-06-02 11:39

Three bodies retrieved

Three bodies have been retrieved, with two of them men and one woman, according to the official weibo account of Blue Sky Rescue Team.

Updated: 2015-06-02 11:36

Background of the cruise operator

The wrecked ship belongs to a State-owned enterprise called "Chongqing Eastern Shipping Company" in Chongqing which was registered on Oct 30, 1981, with registered assets of 41.6 million yuan ($6.71 million).

It operates passenger transportation fron Chongqing to Nanjing on the Yangtze River. In 2014, the company had total assets of 89.75 million yuan, with 184 million liabilities and 1.33 net margin.

Updated: 2015-06-02 11:28

Second body found

A second body has been found meters away the first victim and it is being salvaged by rescuers, according to Blue Sky Rescue Team.

Updated: 2015-06-02 11:04

Shipping routes not affected by incident

CCTV said the ship drifted three kilometers after it capsized. Currently the shipping route on the Yangtze River is not affected but restrictions have been imposed to help the rescue operation.

Updated: 2015-06-02 11:02

Picture

A team heads to search-and-rescue operation. [Photo/IC]

Updated: 2015-06-02 10:53

Twelve hours have passed since the ship sank

According to maritime experts, the first four hours is crucial to finding survivors. The current situation does not look very optimistic as 12 hours have passed since the passenger ship overturned.

Updated: 2015-06-02 10:51

Captain, chief engineer detained

The captain and the chief engineer have been detained by local police with Yangtze River navigation.

Updated: 2015-06-02 10:44

Helicopters sent

Airborne forces have sent helicopters to the ship wreck site.

Updated: 2015-06-02 10:27

Travel agency publishes contact info

The travel agency has published emergency call number: 13983654321.

The phone number of the Yangtze River navigation administration: 027-82418021.

Updated: 2015-06-02 10:26

Regions of passengers

Among the passengers, 97 are from Shanghai, 204 from Jiangsu, 11 from Zhejiang, 43 from Tianjin, 23 from Shandong, 19 from Fujian, and 8 from Anhui, Hubei Daily cited tourism agencies as saying. In addition, there were 47 crew members and five tourist guides.

Updated: 2015-06-02 10:25

Thousands take part in rescue

More than 2,100 soldiers and policemen, more than 1,000 civilians, more than 150 ships have taken part in rescue operation.

Updated: 2015-06-02 10:24

Body retrieved, 7 swam to shore to alert police

CCTV said that the rescuers have retrieved a body who is believed to be a tourist guide. Seven people swam to the shore to call the police when the tragedy happened.

Updated: 2015-06-02 10:23

Survivors located inside ship

Divers found that somebody replying when they knocked on the ship wreck underwater, officials with the Yangtze River navigation administration told Hubei Daily.

For earlier coverage, please click here.