China ferry disaster: Authorities right capsized Yangtze River ship and say there is no chance of finding more survivors

The Eastern Star capsized on Monday night

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The Independent Online

There remains no chance of finding any more survivors of the capsized cruise ship in China's Yangtze River as the vessel is turned over, authorities have said.

The Eastern Star, which was carrying 456 people, capsized on Monday night during a tornado in Jianli. But the cause of the sinking is not yet known.

Emergency workers will now search the cabins of the 76-metre Eastern Star for bodies rather than survivors, according to the BBC.

The transport ministry spokesman Xu Chengguang told a news conference late last night: “In a situation in which the overall judgement is that there is no chance of people being alive, we could start the work of righting the boat.”

Hundreds of people are still missing as only 97 bodies have been recovered so far. In what could be China’s worst shipping disaster since the SS Kiangya sank in 1948, only 14 survivors have been found.

Two cranes managed to lift the ship after disaster teams worked through Thursday night to right the vessel this morning.

At the site of the disaster in Jianli, Hubei province, the majority of the four-deck ship remains under water and images show that the roof of the vessel appears to be crushed. But teams are preparing to drain water from the ship and salvage it, CNN has said.

Relatives of those who were travelling aboard the ship have been protesting in Jianli for more information about the disaster.

Xia Yunchen, 70, whose sister and brother-in-law were travelling on the ship, told reporters that she wanted an investigation into the disaster because some family members doubted whether it was caused by the bad weather, according to Reuters.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has promised an investigation into what caused the disaster.

The captain and chief engineer of the boat, both of whom survived, have been detained for questioning by the police.

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