China Yangtze ship survivor count revised down

The Eastern Star cruise ship is seen being towed to a safer area, after it capsized in the Jianli section of the Yangtze River, in Huarong county, Hunan province, China, June 10, 2015. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police have detained the captain and chief engineer as part of an investigation into the incident

Chinese authorities have revised down the number of survivors of the Yangtze River cruise ship disaster from 14 to 12 people.

The miscount was blamed on duplication and confusion between government agencies, said Xinhua news agency.

Authorities said 442 people, mainly tourists in their 60s, died after the Eastern Star capsized during a storm on 1 June. All the bodies of those who died have been found, officials say.

The accident's cause is still unclear.

"Different government bodies made repeated calculations of the number of survivors, thus leading to a miscalculation," Tang Guanjun, head of the Yangtze River Navigation Affairs Administration, told reporters late on Saturday according to Xinhua.

The ship sank in Jianli, in China's central Hubei province, in what reports said was a matter of seconds. Weather officials said a freak tornado hit the area.

Police have detained the captain and chief engineer for questioning as part of an investigation into the incident.

An initial probe into the sinking found the ship was not overloaded and had enough life vests on board.

The operator of the ship has apologised for the disaster and said it would "fully" co-operate with the investigation.

The Eastern Star

Image copyright EPA
  • The 76m-long, 2,200 tonne ship was named Dongfangzhixing in Chinese
  • It was carrying 405 passengers - mostly elderly tourists but one three-year-old - as well as five travel agency employees and 46 crew members.
  • The ship is owned by the Chongqing Eastern Shipping Corporation, and passengers had booked their trip through a travel agency in Shanghai.
  • The cruise left the eastern city of Nanjing in April and was travelling to Chongqing in the south-west via the Three Gorges - a journey of at least 1,500km (930 miles).

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