90 missing as ships collide

BEIJING: Rescue teams were struggling yesterday in thick fog to find survivors after a passenger ship and a cargo vessel collided on China's Yangtze River, leaving at least 90 people missing, state press and local officials said. 

The accident happened at 8am near Peilinglun city, 270km from Yichang, the location of the Three Gorges Dam, the China News Service said. 

The agency said the passenger ship Peazhou, carrying at least 100 people, sank and that 10 passengers had so far been rescued. 

Two local hospitals said 10 injured had so far been admitted. 

“We have received nine people from the accident so far,” said Dr Zhang Yi from Lingshi Hospital. “They are all in a stable condition.” 

The Central Hospital of Fuling city said it had so far seen one injured person. 

A journalist at the local Fuling television station said three bodies had been recovered. 

“What we know is that 13 have so far been rescued and three bodies have been found,” he said, adding that it was impossible to know how many might have drowned or been swept away as there was no record of how many people were on board. 

“The ship had stopped at least three or four times on its journey so no one knows who got on and who got off,” he said. 

Local officials said the area was shrouded in thick fog at the time of the collision and the boats should not have been on the river. 

An official surnamed Wong from the Fuling Maritime Bureau supervision section said the ship was capable of carrying 350 people, but was unable to say how many were on board when the accident occurred. – AFP  

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