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Details of Rescue and Search for Capsized Ship Victims Revealed
   2015-06-07 18:27:49    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Jing

Diver Guan Dong from the Naval University of Engineering is interviewed after successfully pulled two survivors from the Eastern Star on June 2, 2015, 18-hours after the boat capsized. [Photo: screen shot from Xinhua]

A ceremony has been held on the banks of the Yangtze River this Sunday morning to commemorate those who lost their lives in Monday's deadly cruise ship capsizing in Hubei.

CRI's Qian Shanming has more.


Hundreds of those who took part in the rescue operations, standing along side the grieving relatives of the victims, observed three-minutes of silence in tribute to the over 400 people who lost their lives on Monday.

The solemn ceremony is part of Chinese tradition, which calls for a period of mourning a week after a tragedy takes place.

Following the commemoration, authorities have also taken time to brief the media on the current situation.

Hu Kaihong with the State Council Information Office says they are still in the process of positively identifying all the victims.

"According to the latest statistics, as of 11am on June 7, 431 bodies have been retrieved; there are 14 survivors, and 11 still remain missing. We are now matching DNA samples to positively identify those killed. At the same time, the search for those still missing is continuing."

The Eastern Star was carrying 456 people on an 11-day trip up the Yangtze River from Nanjing to Chongqing when it capsized after reportedly being hit by a water spout, or tornado, during a heavy storm along Jianli county in Hubei on Monday night.

Hu Jianyue, one of only 14 known survivors, says he and another man managed to get off the stricken boat before it completely flipped over.

"We shouted 'Help', 'Help', 'Help'. Finally some fishermen heard us and turned around their boat to our direction. Local police then arrived and threw a rope around the other man and pulled him on their boat. About 10 minutes later, they came to me."

At the same time, other stories of survival are also emerging.

While many perished inside the boat after it capsized, divers who rushed to the scene were able to save some from inside the stricken vessel.

Diver Guan Dong with the Naval University of Engineering managed to pull two survivors from the Eastern Star, 18-hours after the boat capsized.

The recorder in his diving helmet managed to capture the events as he prepared to pull one of the survivors to safety.

"Buddy, don't worry, we'll come to you very soon. We must take you outĄ­Don't worry, I'm here. We just saved an old granny. Hold on, hold on."

Local hospitals in Jianli County were all put on alert shortly after the ship capsized.

Ma Guohua with the People's Hospital in Jianli County says virtually all of the hospital's staff were called in after the accident.

"We then called all the staff in our department, doctors, nurses, and drivers, to come to the hospital. We also sent out medical crews to the scene. Three ambulances followed us heading to the Xinzhou deepwater wharf near the accident scene. "

Chinese vice-Premier Ma Kai remains on-the-scene in Jianli County, meeting with the families of the victims.

He says the central government remains dedicated to finding those still missing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is demanding a full investigation into what led to the tragedy.

The ship's captain is currently under investigation amid questions about why the ship didn't drop anchor after storm alerts reportedly went out just before the accident took place.

For CRI, I'm Qian Shanming.

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