China / Society

Cruise ship death toll revised to 442 as search and rescue efforts end

By Xinhua in Jianli, Hubei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-15 07:44

The final death toll in the Eastern Star tragedy has risen to 442 with the recovery of more bodies of those who were missing after the cruise ship capsized on the Yangtze River, rescue officials said on Saturday.

Only 12 people survived the disaster on the night of June 1, Tang Guanjun, director of the Yangtze River Navigation Affairs Administration, said at a news briefing.

It had been stated earlier that 456 people were onboard the cruise ship and 14 had survived, but Tang explained a final revision of the figures had been made after further checks and verification.

He said rescuers from different agencies had made repeated calculations of the number of survivors.

All the dead have been identified after DNA tests, and the bodies have been handed over to relatives, Tang said.

A total of 426 bodies had been cremated by Saturday afternoon.

Search and rescue operations have ended, but the investigation continues, he said.

The Eastern Star, with 403 tourists, 46 crew members and five travel agency employees aboard, was on an 11-day trip along the Yangtze River when it was overturned by a tornado on the night of June 1.

The 76.5-meter vessel had been in service for nearly 20 years and could carry up to 534 people. It underwent annual maintenance in late 2014 and was certified to cruise until April 25, 2016.

(China Daily 06/15/2015 page4)

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