No chance of survivors in China ship capsize as toll tops 100

No chance of survivors in China ship capsize as toll tops 100

No chance of survivors in China ship capsize as toll tops 100

Hopes of finding more survivors from the capsized cruise ship in China's Yangtze river were dashed as its submerged hull was today lifted, with the death toll crossing 100 and fate of over 250 still unknown in what could be the country's worst maritime tragedy in 70 years.

Rescue teams have completely righted the Eastern Star after an overnight risky operation, three days after the capsize, and are now trying to drain water from inside the hull in an attempt to re-float and lift it out of the river.

The four-storey cruise ship, carrying 456 Chinese holiday-makers mostly elderly, sank within two minutes, with merely 14 survivors pulled out of the murky waters of Asia's longest river, the Yangtze.

As many as 103 people have been confirmed dead, with 26 bodies pulled out today.
Authorities have said the chances of finding anyone still alive were "slim".
"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," Transport Ministry spokesman Xu Chengguang had told reporters yesterday.

Some 50 divers worked overnight to tie slings around the 2,200-tonne ship so that it can be hoisted.

Images on state-run Xinhua news agency and CCTV showed the blue and white vessel being pulled out from the water using iron cables suspended from huge floating cranes and 'Eastern Star' in Chinese visible on one side of the hull and a large part heavily damaged.
The ship was on an 11-day trip along the Yangtze when it overturned in Jianli in central China's Hubei Province due to a freak tornado.

The grim task of cutting through the vessel in a last- ditch effort also yielded no results yesterday following which authorities went ahead with lifting the hull.

Grieving relatives rushed to the site yesterday but were barred from reaching the riverbank and were being closely monitored even as China assured them of no "cover up" in the probe.
Authorities have been struggling to tackle public fury, with clashes between the relatives of the people on board the ill-fated ship and officials.

In a bitter scene at an official press conference today, an elderly irate relative publicly accused the government of treating its citizens like enemies.
"Is it necessary to treat the common people, one by one, as if you are facing some kind of formidable foe?" said 70- year-old Xia Yunchen, whose sister and brother-in-law were aboard the Eastern Star.

"What we have received are the words, selected wisely, which are full of untruths," the woman, who sneaked into the briefing told reporters, before officials escorted her away.
Angry relatives have also clashed with police earlier this week. 

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