A 58-year-old man who managed to swim to safety after the Eastern Star tour ship capsized in the Yangtze River on Monday has recalled his harrowing last moments inside the vessel, where his wife was trapped and could not escape.
Wu Jianqiang, 58, said he and his 57-year-old wife Li Xiuzhen traveled from Tianjin to Nanjing for the cruise ship vacation.
They were lying in bed together that evening when the ship suddenly tilted, causing the bed to slide to the opposite side of the room, China.org reports. Water started rushing into the cabin, and Li was pinned beneath the heavy bed, unable to free herself even with the help of Wu, who desperately attempted to pull her out.
Li shouted to her husband to “let go”, and after loosening his grip, Wu was pushed out of cabin by the flooding water. That was when the ship completely turned over.
Wu was one of the first to be rescued after swimming out of the vessel.
“I might have died if my wife had not let go of my hands,” Wu said. He is one of 14 people to be found alive in the wake of the disaster, and his wife is among more than 370 people still missing.
No one has been pulled out of the water alive since Tuesday, and as the air in the ship grows thinner, so do hopes of finding survivors.
Divers throughly searched compartments along the right side of the vessel this morning, the deputy commander of the East China Sea fleet told CCTV News today, but strong currents in the water are making search efforts difficult.