Five people have died and hundreds are missing after a cruise ship carrying 458 people capsized on the Yangtze River in China’s Hubei province.
State media said rescuers heard calls from inside the upside-down hull and about a dozen people were rescued.
The boat, reportedly sent no emergency signal. The alarm was raised by those who had swum to shore.
The captain and the chief engineer, who both survived, have been detained. They say the boat was caught in a cyclone.
Chinese media quoted them as saying the vessel sank within minutes, while many people were asleep.
The ship sank in the Damazhou waterway section of the Yangtze, where the world’s third longest river reaches depths of about 15m (50ft) deep.
Rescuers in southern China were able to rescue six people Tuesday after hearing cries for help from the wreckage of a passenger ship that capsized in a storm the previous night with 458 people, many of them elderly, on board.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that the six brought the total of confirmed survivors to 18, including the ship’s captain and chief engineer. Five others were confirmed to have died and hundreds more were feared dead in the accident, which occurred at approximately 9:38 p.m. local time Monday (9:38 a.m. ET) during a a cruise from Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing.
Search teams heard people calling out from within the partially submerged ship when they climbed aboard the upside-down hull. Footage from CCTV showed rescuers in orange life vests climbing on top of the upside down hull, with one of them lying down tapping a hammer and listening for a response, then pointing downward.
Divers later pulled out at least one survivor, a 65-year-old woman, from inside the overturned hull, CCTV said. Then rescuers reported an additional five people rescued, though no further details were given. At least seven of the survivors had swam ashore following the wreck.
The ship, named the Eastern Star, had been carrying 406 Chinese passengers, 47 crew members, and five travel agency employees. CCTV said most of the passengers were between 50 and 80 years old.