8 students die after ferry boat sinks in C China

Updated: 2011-09-09 19:34


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CHANGSHA - At least eight students died after a ferry boat sank in a river in central China's Hunan province Friday afternoon, local authorities and witnesses said.

Witnesses said "scores" of high school students, who were on their way back home for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, were aboard the vessel when it left a pier in the town of Tangtianshi in Shaoyang County around 2 pm.

Local villagers and police officers have joined in search and rescue operations.

Jiang Yaohua, head of Shaoyang County's committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), confirmed that the boat sank at 3:10 pm, adding that rescuers have retrieved eight bodies as of 6 pm.

Jiang also said that rescuers have saved most of the students. Authorities are still working to verify how many students have been rescued and how many are still missing.

Witnesses said overloading was probably to blame for the accident.