Hopes dimmed Wednesday for rescuing more than 400 people still trapped aboard a capsized river cruise ship that overturned in stormy weather about 36 hours earlier, as hundreds of rescuers searched the Yangtze River site in what could become the deadliest Chinese maritime accident in decades.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that 13 bodies had been pulled from the boat, which was floating with a sliver of its hull jutting from the grey river water. A total of fourteen people have been rescued, but the vast majority of the 456 people on board, many of them elderly tourists, were unaccounted for.
The Eastern Star was traveling upstream Monday night from the eastern city of Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing when it overturned in China's Hubei Province in what state media reported as a cyclone with winds of up to 80 mph.
State media reported that rescuers heard people yelling for help within the overturned hull, and divers rescued a 65-year-old woman and, later, two men who had been trapped. CCTV said more people had been found and were being rescued, but did not say whether they were still inside the overturned hull.
The yelling was heard Tuesday, and it is not known if any sounds were heard Wednesday. CCTV said rescuers would possibly support the ship with a giant crane while they cut into portions of the hull. The survivors included the ship's captain and chief engineer, both of whom were taken into police custody, CCTV said.