Last updated: 08:52 AM ET, Tue June 02 2015

Rescue Efforts Underway After Eastern Star River Cruise Ship Sinks in China

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | June 02, 2015

Rescue Efforts Underway After Eastern Star River Cruise Ship Sinks in China

PHOTO: The Yangtze River, where The Eastern Star reportedly capsized Monday night. (Photo by David Cogswell)

A dire rescue effort is underway in the Yangtze River near China's Hubei province after a cruise ship carrying 458 passengers and crew sunk amid a storm Monday night, according to China's Hubei Daily via CNN.

Several hours into the emergency, officials have confirmed the rescue of at least a dozen people, but rescue workers have also pulled at least five bodies from the ship.

The Eastern Star, which was seen upside down in the river with just its hull above the surface, began taking on water around 9:30 p.m. local time on Monday night.

A majority of the 406 passengers said to be on board the ship are over the age of 50, with more than half over the age of 60, according to a passenger list acquired by In addition to the nearly four dozen crew members, state media reported there were five travel agency workers on board.

Chinese media outlets via CNN reported that rescuers could hear voices coming from inside the ship's cabins and were trying to cut into the ship to find survivors. 

Per CNN, China's CCTV reported that the ship's captain and chief engineer were among the survivors and have since been taken into police custody. Both are likely to face questions as authorities attempt to piece together what happened.

With a majority of the ship's passengers still unaccounted for, though, rescue efforts are likely to continue for some time. An investigation into what led to the ship's sinking is certain to follow. 

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