Dongfangzhixing (Eastern Star)
The 76 meter long four-deck river passenger ship Eastern Star (Dongfangzhixing) capsized and sank on the Yangtze River in the Wuhan, Damazhou area. The vessel was carrying 405 passengers, 5 travel agents and 48 crew on a holiday cruise up the Yangtze from Nanjing to Chongqing when it was struck by a severe storm. The storm with heavy rain and strong winds caused the vessel to capsize and sink within just a few minutes.
Many passengers were still asleep on board when the vessel sank. It is believed they received no warning and were still in their cabins. Reports state only 12 of the 458 on board were rescued. Several swam ashore while others were pulled from the water. Some required treatment for minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital. Among the survivors was the Captain and Chief Engineer of the Eastern Star. They state a cyclone struck the vessel and did not allow the vessel to send out a distress call.
Authorities responded quickly and had several rescue boats on the scene. Some 20 divers were requested to aid efforts while some 100 local fishing boats have joined in the search and rescue efforts. A crane barge has been requested to help right the overturn hull in hopes to find survivors who may have found an airpocket.