CHINA (Christian Examiner) – Hundreds are missing and several confirmed dead after a small cruise ship carrying 456 people -- mostly grandparents on vacation -- reportedly capsized on the Yangtze River in China's Hubei province overnight.
The ship was caught in a cyclone, which hampered rescue efforts, the BBC reported.
Chinese media said both the captain and the chief engineer survived and were detained. The ship apparently sent out no emergency signal.
The Eastern Star sank within minutes, according to the BBC report, with at least 15 survivors found alive inside the submerged hull of the ship.
Most onboard were tourists ranging in age from 50-80 who were traveling about 930 miles from the east to the southwest.
A survivor, tour guide Zhang Hui, told Xinhua state new agency that the ship tossed about violently after passengers gathered in the hallways to avoid heaving rain coming through the cabin windows.
He said he climbed out of a window after having about "30 seconds to grab a life jacket," according to the report.
Reportedly, he was rescued from reeds after floating and hearing others cry for help.
About 150 boats and 4,000 emergency personnel are on the scene, according to reports which also say the boat carried 405 Chinese passengers, five travel agency employees and 46 crew members.
Reuters reported relatives were outside a local government building in Shanghai trying to get information.
Sina News said a young man sobbed by the door of Xiehe Travel.
"Mum and Dad I was wrong, I shouldn't have let you go off on your holiday," the man said.