Hundreds are feared dead after a ship packed with nearly 450 passengers sank in the Yangtze river in southwest China late on Monday night.
Rescuers were battling strong winds and strong river waves to rescue passengers trapped in the ship which was on its way to Chongqing from the city of Nanjing in eastern China.
Many of the passengers aboard the ship were elderly citizens who had signed up for a Shanghai travel tour.
Only 10 people had been rescued till Tuesday morning.
According to state media reports, among those rescued were the ship’s captain and chief engineer.
There were 406 passengers, five travel agency tour guides and 47 crew members aboard, according to the administration.
According to the official news agency, Xinhua, authorities have located the site where the ship sank. Part of the ship, which turned upside down, has emerged. More than 30 boats have been dispatched for the rescue.
Part of the ship, which turned upside down, has emerged. (AFP Photo)
The ship, which departed from the eastern Chinese city Nanjing and is bound for Chongqing Municipality in southwest China, sank "within one or two minutes" after being caught in a cyclone, according to the ship's captain and chief engineer.
The Yangtze is China’s longest river and a heavy traffic ships and trawlers flow through it.
“More than 1,000 armed police officers have been dispatched to the site where a passenger ship carrying 458 people sank in the Yangtze River in central Hubei Province on Monday night.
Watch: Passenger ship sinks in China's Yangtze river with hundreds missing
Equipped with 40 inflatable boats, the officers from the Hubei Armed Police Corps have been conducting rescue work since Tuesday morning,” the news agency reported.
The ship, named Dongfangzhixing, or Eastern Star, sank at around 9:28 p.m. after being caught in a cyclone in the Jianli section of the Yangtze River, according to the Yangtze River navigation administration.
Pesident Xi Jinping has ordered all-out rescue efforts while Prmeier Li Keqiang, along with Vice Premier Ma Kai and State Councilor Yang Jing have left for the site of the accident from Beijing to direct the rescue and emergency response work.