Twenty-one dead after China boat capsizes on Yangtze river
TWENTY-one people have been confirmed dead after a tugboat capsized on the Yangtze river in eastern China, state media report.
The boat, with 25 people on board, overturned on Thursday while it was conducting tests on the river near Zhangjiagang, in Jiangsu province.
Eight foreigners were among those on board, including Singaporean, Indian, Malaysian and Japanese nationals.
Three people have been rescued and the search continues for one person.
Embassies in China gave the number of foreigners on board as four Singaporeans, two Malaysians, one Indian and one Japanese.
The three people rescued were all Chinese, Xinhua news agency reported. The tugboat, the 30-metre (98-foot) long Wanshenzhou 67, was undergoing tests, with the ship’s owner and a team of engineers on board.
The Wanshenzhou 67 was registered in Singapore.
One survivor who was rescued early on Friday, Wang Chenhua, said they had been taking the vessel for a trial voyage.
Mr Wang, who was in the cockpit with a 60-year-old Japanese engineer acting as his translator, said that soon after they had conducted a load test for the boat’s main engine, the boat “suddenly turned over” to the left.
He said water rushed into the cockpit which was fully flooded “within 20 seconds”. He survived by holding onto a hydraulic pump that was not submerged.
Mr Wang added that he had tried to hold on to the Japanese engineer, but they were separated as the boat sank further.
The boat was constructed in China’s Anhui province last October. Local officials told Xinhua the boat had not properly reported its route and work plans to the port authorities.