Death toll in China ship tragedy reaches 431

Death Toll climbs to 431 in Chinese ship disaster as country mourns for its victims

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015


The death toll from a Chinese cruise ship which capsized on the Yangtze River, rose to 431 as 11 still remain missing, a government spokesman said on Saturday.   

Only 14 survivors, one of them the captain have been found after the Eastern Star cruise ship overturned with 456 passenger and crew in Jianli in the Hubei province on late Monday due to the stormy weather.  

Chinese authorities said on Friday in a news conference that there is no chance to find any more survivors, but despite the announcement, nonstop search and rescue efforts have continued.   

Officials and rescuers gathered in the river on Sunday, as they bowed their heads while surrounding ships sounded their horns to commemorate the seventh day of the capsizing on the traditional  mourning day for death in Chinese culture.   

Victim families also gather in the river to remember their loved ones.

More than 1400 family members blame the government for not sharing information, despite government claims that it has been doing everything possible such as providing free medical services and accommodation for the victim’s relatives.

Vice Premier Ma Kai has visited family members personally as a part of the efforts which focus on easing tensions between the government and families.

Only relatives who were satisfied with government efforts talked about their feelings during interviews with foreign reporters which were organized by the government.

"It made me feel incredibly warm. When he shook my hand and said a few words to me, told us to keep on going. I felt that he didn't seem like a political leader at all. He was so genial. He was like my own father," Wang Hua, 42, who lost both parents on the ship, told Reuters regardingher meeting with Ma.

State Newspapers shared the same story with Xinhua which had released earlier with the "Bearing great responsibility to the people" headline to eliminate criticism against the government.

"In the midst of disaster, we are all of one heart, the whole nation helping each other, staunchly moving forward," Xinhua wrote.

The government promised to continue its investigation without whitewashing the ordeal. Chinese police arrested the ship’s captain and chief engineer and according to the initial investigation the vessel wasn't overloaded and had a sufficient number of life jacket on board.   

The Eastern Star ferry capsize was the worst disaster within the country since the SS Kiangya sunk off Shanghai in 1948, approximately from 2750 to 4,000 people lost their life in the disaster, according to the AP.

TRTWorld and agencies