Hundreds of Bodies Recovered From Capsized Ship in China

A section of the Eastern Star.

The official death toll from the capsizing of the Eastern Star on China’s Yangtze River rose sharply over the weekend. After the initial search-and-rescue mission turned up only 103 bodies and 14 survivors, the authorities flipped over the cruise ship on Friday in the hopes of locating the rest of its 456 crew members and passengers, most of whom were elderly tourists. Hundreds of bodies have been recovered since then, bringing the tally of those killed to nearly 400, according to the Associated Press. Officials say that 46 people are still missing.

The New York Times reports that more than 1,000 of the victims’ relatives have come to the city of Jianli, the center of the recovery effort, to help identify their family members. Many have complained about a lack of information from the government. They’ve also demanded to know why the vessel’s captain, who survived the disaster, chose to continue sailing through a Monday night storm while other boats waited for the bad weather to pass. (Investigators believe that the Eastern Star might have been struck by a tornado.)

At a news conference on Saturday, Zhang Shifeng, an official from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said family members would be allowed to view the bodies of their loved ones before cremation, which was deemed necessary because of the condition of the bodies,” the Times reports. “There were also plans for a riverside memorial service, and he said family members could expect monetary compensation, although he did not provide details.”

Hundreds of Bodies Recovered From Capsized Ship