Yangtze ship disaster: Chinese salvagers right Eastern Star

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Chinese salvagers have fully righted the ship which capsized on the Yangtze River, on which more than 400 people are thought to have died.

The Eastern Star overturned late on Monday after being caught in a storm.

Just 14 of the 456 passengers and crew are known to have survived what looks set to be China’s worst shipping disaster in more than 60 years of Communist rule.

Authorities say the chances of finding anyone still alive were “slim”.

“In a situation in which the overall judgment is that there is no chance of people being alive, we could start the work of righting the boat,” Transport Ministry Spokesperson Xu Chengguang had told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

Why did cruise ship capsize?

Rescue workers on the upturned hull, which was just barely visible over the brown waters of the Yangtze, were towered over by two cranes.

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Hooks were welded onto the ship and a net stretched around the entire structure in preparation for lifting it.

By first light on Friday, the ship could be seen lying on its side with its name visible just above the water. Xinhua state news agency later tweeted a picture of the righted vessel, its roof apparently crushed.

As the ship is righted, the focus of emergency workers at the s

Mr Xu said there had been no further signs of life inside the ship, Xinhua news agency reports.

He said officials would “absolutely not cover up anything” in the investigation, state media reports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised a thorough investigation into the cause of the disaster, after angry relatives protested at the scene.

Authorities tightly controlled access to the site, leading family members and journalists to complain about a lack of information.

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ite in Jianli, Hubei province will switch from attempting to find survivors to searching the ship’s 150 cabins for bodies.

Mr Xu said on Friday that the next step was to raise the ship entirely above the water to conduct the search.

So far 97 bodies have been recovered, some after three holes were cut into the vessel’s upturned hull. The holes were later welded closed in order to preserve the ship’s buoyancy.

 

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