Authorities announced this morning that they had righted the cruise ship that capsized in the Yangtze River on Monday, a sign that rescue teams have given up hope of finding more survivors and will now work to recover bodies.
The Eastern Star was carrying 456 people, most of whom were elderly passengers, when it was caught up in a storm and capsized on the evening of June 1. Only 14 people have been rescued alive from the murky water, including the captain and chief engineer of the ship.
The death toll has climbed to 97, Xinhua confirmed an hour before the time of reporting, meaning that over 340 people are still unaccounted for.
“What makes us deeply, deeply regretful is that our search of the areas where there was possible presence of survivors didn’t yield any discovery, didn’t create a miracle,” Transport Ministry spokesman Xu Chengguan said at a press conference last night. “With no likelihood of survivors, we can start the work of righting and lifting the ship.”
One side of the vessel was rolled above water at around 7:30 a.m. today after an hours-long operation. The move “will enable an audit of all the cabins to be carried out as quickly as possible and will be good for searching for the missing in the shortest period of time,” Xinhua said, citing a response team personal who added that the swift search would be done “to preserve the dignity of the dead to the utmost extent”.
Aerial shot shows the capsized #EasternStar ship on the Yangtze River just before technicians begin to upright the ship. The death toll has now risen to 82, with 14 survivors. Watch the latest on CCTV online or mobile at www.cctvamericalive.com
Posted by CCTV America on Thursday, June 4, 2015
[Images via CCTV]