Rescuers fought bad weather on Tuesday as they searched for more than 400 people, many of them elderly Chinese tourists, missing after a ship capsized on the Yangtze River in what was likely China’s worst shipping disaster in almost 70 years, writes Reuters.
Divers and other rescue workers desperately tried to reach five people they found trapped in the upturned hull of the Eastern Star, a fraction of the 458 people state media reported were on board when the ship capsized in a storm late on Monday.
Distraught relatives of some of the passengers scuffled with officials in the city of Shanghai, where many of those on board booked their trips, angry about what they said was a lack of information about their loved ones.
The Xinhua news agency said rescuers could hear people calling for help from inside the ship’s hull and television showed rescuers trying to cut through it with an angle grinder.
Relatives scuffled with officials at a local government building in Shanghai, frustrated over the lack of information being given to them, reports the BBC.
They had earlier gathered outside the closed offices of the travel agency, Xiehe Travel, which made the bookings for the cruise.
They told reporters that phone calls to their loved ones on board were not getting through.
Sina News reported that a young man was seen sobbing by the door, saying: “Mum and Dad I was wrong, I shouldn’t have let you go off on your holiday.”
Another relative, Huang Yan, says she believes her husband and father-in-law were on board, but she could not be sure because she had not seen the official passenger manifest, the AP news agency reports.
“Why did the captain leave the ship while the passengers were still missing?” she asked reporters, adding: “We want the government to release the name list to see who was on the boat.”