At least 396 confirmed dead in China boat capsize

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JIANLI, China (AP) — The grim search for bodies continues along a part of the Yangtze River in China where a cruise ship capsized in a storm Monday.

Authorities say more than 40 people are still missing but hundreds of the dead have been recovered since the ship was righted and stabilized yesterday.

The death toll is near 400.

The captain and his first engineer are in police custody amid questions about why the cruise continued in bad weather.

The boat had more than 450 people aboard, many of them elderly tourists, for a cruise from Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing.

Fourteen people survived, including three pulled out by divers from air pockets in the overturned hull on Tuesday.

Disaster teams put chains around the hull and used cranes to roll the banged-up, white and blue boat upright and then gradually lift it out of the gray currents of the Yangtze on Friday.

China's deadliest maritime disaster in recent decades was the Dashun ferry, which caught fire and capsized off Shandong province in November 1999, killing about 280.

The Eastern Star disaster could become the country's worst since the sinking of the SS Kiangya off Shanghai in 1948, which is believed to have killed anywhere from 2,750 to nearly 4,000 people.

 

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