6 Jun 2015

China ship death toll rises to 400

Hundreds more bodies are recovered from a Chinese ship wreck after a cruiser capsized in the Yangtze river, leaving only 14 survivors so far.

The death toll from the ship wreck on the Yangtze river climbed to 396 with fewer than 50 still missing after the cruise ship capsized during a storm.

The company operating the boat has apologised and said it would co-operate with investigations.

The ship was carrying 456 people and overturned during a freak tornado on Monday. Only 14 survivors have been found so far.

Rescuers are searching the cabins of the four-level ship, which was righted and raised on Friday.

Jiang Zhao, general manager of the company which operated the Eastern Star, bowed in apology for the disaster during an interview with state media, saying the company would “fully” co-operate with the investigation.

Beijing has pledged there will be “no cover-up” in the investigation into the disaster.

Police have detained the captain and chief engineer for questioning as part of the investigation. An initial probe found the ship was not overloaded and had enough life vests on board.

The disaster is China’s worst shipping catastrophe in 70 years, and has now caused a higher toll than the sinking of a ferry in South Korea in April 2014 that killed 304 people, most of them children on a school trip.

More than 1,400 family members travelled to Jianli where the ship went down, with many expressing frustration at the lack of information given by the government.