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Death toll climbs to 97 as capsized ship righted

Updated: Jun 5,2015 8:05 PM     Xinhua

Photo taken on June 5, 2015 shows the capsized cruise ship Eastern Star being hoisted in the section of Jianli on the Yangtze River, central China’s Hubei province. The cruise ship that capsized in the Yangtze River on the night of June 1 carrying 456 people is being hoisted from the river after rescuers righted it on the morning of June 5. [Photo/Xinhua]

JIANLI, Hubei province — The death toll from a Chinese cruise ship that capsized on the Yangtze River has climbed to 97, the Ministry of Transport said on June 5.

Xu Chengguang, the ministry’s spokesman, said at a news conference that by 10:20 a.m., 97 bodies had been retrieved from the ship that had 456 people onboard when it capsized June 1 night.

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

With rescuers working through the night, the ship was righted at about 9 am on June 5, and the Chinese characters of “Eastern Star” could be seen on one side of the hull.

Xu said oil leaking from the ship was found in the river water. Blankets have been placed to help contain it.

The cruise ship, carrying mainly elderly tourists, was on a 11-day trip along the Yangtze River when it was immediately overturned by a tornado on June 1 night in Jianli in central China’s Hubei province. Only 14 people have been found alive so far.

More than 3,400 soldiers, 1,700 paramilitary people together with 149 vessels, 59 machines and a helicopter have joined in the rescue mission.

Photo taken on June 5,2015 shows the capsized cruise ship Eastern Star being hoisted in the section of Jianli on the Yangtze River, central China’s HubeiProvince.[Photo/Xinhua]

Photo taken on June 5, 2015 shows the capsized cruise ship Eastern Star being hoisted in the section of Jianli on the Yangtze River, central China’s Hubei province.[Photo/Xinhua]

Photo taken on June 5, 2015 shows the capsized cruise ship Eastern Star being hoisted in the section of Jianli on the Yangtze River, central China’s Hubei province.[Photo/Xinhua]

Photo taken on June 5, 2015 shows the capsized cruise ship Eastern Star being hoisted in the section of Jianli on the Yangtze River, central China’s Hubei province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Photo taken on June 5, 2015 shows the capsized cruise ship Eastern Star being hoisted in the section of Jianli on the Yangtze River, central China’s Hubei province. [Photo/Xinhua]

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