(From The New York Times)

BEIJING — Most of the 458 people aboard a chartered cruise ship were still missing on Tuesday morning, more than a dozen hours after the vessel sank during a torrential rainstorm along the central Yangtze River, according to a report by Xinhua, the state news agency.

Fewer than a dozen people had been rescued, local news media reported, making this perhaps the worst passenger maritime disaster in East Asia since the sinking of the South Korean ferry Sewol last year.

The water where the boat sank is about 50 feet deep. Rescuers could hear the sounds of people trapped inside, according to a Twitter post by China Central Television, the main state network. The ship, whose name translates as Oriental Star, was crossing Hubei Province in the middle of the country when it sank at 9:28 p.m. on Monday, Xinhua reported, citing the Yangtze River Navigation Administration. Rescue work was hampered by strong winds and heavy rain.

Most of the passengers were 50 to 80 years old and had been traveling on a group tour, according to Hubei Daily. The newspaper reported that one body, which appeared to be that of a tour guide, had been discovered. Hundreds of soldiers and police and paramilitary officers were on the scene. More than 100 boats and divers were also there, the newspaper reported. Read more

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