A Chinese ferry carrying 456 people on the Yangtze River sank Monday night after getting caught in a cyclone, and by Tuesday evening just 15 survivors had been rescued.
Chinese authorities deployed a 140-person frogman team, thousands of soldiers and five helicopters to the site of the sinking, whose death toll could exceed last year’s ferry disaster in South Korea that killed 304 people.
The ship, called the Dongfangzhixing, or Eastern Star, carried 405 Chinese passengers, 46 crew members and five travel agency employees on a 930-mile route from the eastern city of Nanjing to the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, according to the official New China News Agency. Most of the passengers were elderly tourists, ages 50 to 80, though there was one as young as 3.
According to a statement from the local government, crew members called for help around 11:51 p.m. after swimming to shore, more than two hours after the boat sank. State media did not explain the delay.