Last night, Hong Kong’s Victoria Park was not the only venue in China to hold a large-scale candlelight vigil as thousands also gathered in Jianli, Hubei province to mourn those lost on Monday when the Eastern Star capsized in the Yangtze River with more than 450 passengers aboard.
In the past few days, hundreds of relatives from across China have descended on Jianli, the town closest to the disaster site, seeking information about their loved ones. Tensions have been high in the town, with relatives confronting police, but that was temporarily forgotten yesterday night when locals and family members of those lost assembled in Jianli’s town square for a spontaneous memorial ceremony with mourners lighting candles, praying and hoping for a miracle.
Earlier this morning, authorities announced that they had righted the Eastern Star, a sign that rescue teams have given up hope for finding more survivors and now will start the work to recover bodies.
The boat was carrying 456 people, most of whom were elderly passengers. Only 14 people have been rescued alive from the murky water. Xinhua reports that the confirmed death toll has climbed to 97, leaving 340 still unaccounted for.
by Alex Linder
[Images via NetEase]