Workers at a funeral home in Jianli were photographed lining up hundreds of coffins to be shipped out yesterday, as hopes of finding survivors in the capsized Eastern Star cruise ship have faded.
The death toll climbed to 65 after emergency teams recovered another 39 bodies overnight, CCTV reported this morning. The state broadcaster said that rescuers managed to cut out the first hole at the bottom of the capsized hull last night, and plan on cutting three more today.
The number of survivors remains at 14, and at this point, the chances of finding more look bleak—over 370 people on board are still unaccounted for.
A spokesman for the Transport Ministry, nonetheless, said that rescuers were “working toward the occurrence of a miracle.”
The tour ship was carrying 458 people when it went under in the Yangtze River on Monday evening. Most of the passengers on board were elderly, and it’s reported that they had less than a minute to grab life jackets before the vessel quickly sank beneath the murky water.
The Eastern Ferry was caught up in a tornado when it made a 108-degree turn at around 9:20 p.m., according to satellite data. Experts have speculated that the ship was destabilized after the sudden U-turn.
The State Council told family members it will launch a comprehensive investigation into the incident, considered one of China’s worst maritime disasters in a half-century.
The ship’s captain and chief engineer are among the survivors, as well as a 65-year-old woman whose rescue was videotaped and broadcast exhaustively on state media yesterday.
Another video has emerged showing the Eastern Star just 30 minutes before sinking.
[Images via Sohu]