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China extends search scope for missing shipwreck victims

Updated: Jun 7,2015 9:38 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Rescuers extended their search scope to some 1,300 kilometers along the Yangtze River with hopes to find 36 people who are still unaccounted for after a Chinese passenger ship capsized in the night of June 1.

Ministry of Transport on June 6 required water traffic management authorities, shipping companies, and boats to jointly search for the missing on the Yangtze River waters from Jianli, Hubei province, where the ship sank, downstream to Wusong estuary in Shanghai.

The death toll from the sinking of the Eastern Star climbed to 406 on June 6 as most of the bodies were retrieved from the ship after it was hoisted out of water on June 5.

Only 14 people survived the accident, and 36 people remain missing. The 2,200-tonne ship was carrying 456 people on an 11-day trip along China’s biggest river when it was capsized by a tornado near Jianli in the night of June 1.

Earlier, rescuers found six bodies after combing some 200 km of waterway downstream.

The ministry said on June 6 that 254 additional vessels and more than 2,500 people will join the search work. More than 3,400 soldiers and 1,700 police have taken part in the search and rescue mission since June 1.