In the Media

Eastern Star Disaster


A few weeks ago, June 1, the Eastern Star, a passenger ship on a pleasure cruise along a stretch of the Yangtze River in central China’s Hubei province, went down during a storm. Four hundred and fifty six people, mostly senior citizens, were on board. Only 14 survived.

The rescue and recovery operation has involved nearly 150 other ships, 3,400 Chinese troops and 1,700 paramilitary personnel, state news agency Xinhua said. Officials have expanded the search area to include more than 600 miles downstream and warned ships to be on the look out for victims of the disaster.

The captain and the chief engineer, who were among the 14 survivors, both said the ship had been hit by a “longjuanfeng,” a Chinese word meaning cyclone or tornado, Xinhua reported.

The China Meteorological Center said a tornado less than 1 kilometer in diameter and lasting 15 to 20 minutes occurred.

The majority of the 405 passengers on the cruise were between 50 and 80 years old, according to a list published by state media. The youngest was 3. There were also 46 crew members and five travel agency workers on board, according to state media. All those on board were reported to be Chinese.

Investigation of the incident is still ongoing, and so is the search for the the ones still missing.


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