A total of 331 people confirmed dead in ship tragedy, as more than 100 still remain unaccounted for, state media says.by Al Jazeera
The death toll in China cruise ship disaster has risen to 331, state media has said, making it China’s deadliest boat disaster in nearly seven decades.
Disaster teams on Saturday searched the now-upright ship for more bodies as more than 100 remained unaccounted for.
Just 14 people have been confirmed alive out of the 456 – mostly tourists aged over 60 – on board when the “Eastern Star” rapidly sunk on the Yangtze river in a storm on Monday.
Authorities gave the death toll of 331 as of 08:00 am (0000 GMT) on Saturday, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
Xinhua earlier gave the total of confirmed dead as 345, but then revised it down to 331. An official said on Thursday that no new survivors are expected to be found.
Authorities have attributed the overturning of the cruise boat to sudden, severe winds, but also have placed the surviving captain and his first engineer under police custody.
Passengers’ relatives have raised questions about whether the ship should have continued its cruise after the storm started in a section of Hubei province and despite a weather warning earlier in the evening.
The vessel was cited for safety infractions two years ago, according to a notice by the Nanjing Maritime Bureau, but no further details have been given about the state of the ship.
Information about the sinking and media access to the site have been tightly controlled, and any online criticism of the search operation quickly doused.