BEIJING (AP) — A yacht carrying more than 450 people sank overnight in the Yangtze River during a cyclone in southern China, and eight people have been rescued, the state broadcaster CCTV reported Tuesday.
Further rescue work was underway but strong winds and rain were hampering the search, CCTV said. The boat was travelling from Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing when it sank at about 9:28 p.m. Monday in Hubei province, the report said.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted the captain and chief engineer, who were both rescued, as saying the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone.
CCTV said the boat was carrying 406 Chinese passengers, five travel agency employees and 47 crew members.
The Eastern Star yacht measured 251 feet long (76.5 meters) and 36 feet wide (11 meters) and was capable of carrying a maximum of 534 people, CCTV reported. It is owned by the Chongqing Eastern Shipping Corp., which focuses on tourism routes in the popular Three Gorges river canyon region.
CCTV reported that 6 inches (150 millimetres) of rain had fallen in the region over the past 24 hours. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is reported to be travelling to the site of the boat sinking.
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