China puts ship disaster survivors at 12, says all 442 bodies found
BEIJING – Just 12 people survived the Yangtze River cruise ship capsizing in which 442 people perished, state media reported, giving a final toll for the disaster and blaming an earlier miscount of the survivors on confusion between government agencies.
All the bodies that had been missing since the Eastern Star capsized during a freak storm on June 1 have now been found, the official Xinhua news agency reported over the weekend. The number of survivors was lowered from 14 earlier, after realisation that there had been some duplication in the count.
“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, Xinhua said.
A 60-strong team looking into the capsizing have collected a “multitude of first-hand evidence” and have interviewed many people including the captain, who survived, the government said last week.
Police have detained the captain and chief engineer for questioning as part of the investigation. An initial probe found the ship was not overloaded and had enough life vests on board.
The company which operated the ship has apologised for the disaster and said it would “fully” cooperate with the investigation. The government has pledged there would be “no cover-up”. –Reuters