Poignant images published on Chinese media show a 65-year-old passenger’s son breaking down in tears upon seeing that she had been rescued from the capsized Eastern Star cruise ship, which sank in the Yangtze River Monday evening with over 450 passengers on board.
Footage showing the woman, Zhu Hongmei, being pulled out of the water and onto the hull of the capsized ship during a rescue mission spread across international news outlets yesterday, stirring hope that more survivors were trapped inside the sunken vessel.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t appeared to be the case. Zhu remains one of 14 known survivors, and no one has been pulled out alive since Tuesday.
Zhu was one of 204 passengers from Jiangsu province on the ship. According to iFeng News, the provincial government had arranged a meeting at a Nanjing hotel office where the passengers’ family members could gather and exchange passengers’ information.
Can Cen and his brother Can Feng arrived at the office and recognized their mom Zhu as the video of her rescue played on TV. They drove to Jianli in the hope to fetch her and bring her home.
Can Cen said his mother and father had boarded the Eastern Star together when it departed from Nanjing to Chongqing on May 28. He has heard no news about his father, but says he has prepared for the worst.
This has been the case for the family members of over 370 missing passengers, most of whom are seniors. According to the BBC, dozens of relatives demanding more detailed information about rescue efforts have staged a protest near the site of the capsized ship.
The official death toll climbed to 65 after more than 30 bodies were pulled from the water overnight.
The State Council reassured family members it would launch a comprehensive investigation into the incident after many questioned why the ship sank so quickly and why the captain didn’t raise alarm. Several of the protesters pushed through police cordons last night and marched towards towards the river. One organizer told Reuters: “This isn’t going to be much use, we’re just doing this for the government to see.”
By Lucy Liu
[Images via China Daily]