China ship tragedy: Toll escalates to 434

Beijing, June 8 (IANS) A total of 434 people have been confirmed dead after a Chinese cruise ship capsized in the Yangtze River on June 1, authorities said on Monday.

According to rescue officials, two bodies were recovered on Monday morning, reducing the number of missing people to eight, Xinhua reported.

Only 14 people have been rescued so far.

The cruise ship Eastern Star, carrying 456 people onboard, was on an 11-day trip over the Yangtze River when it was overturned by a tornado last Monday.

Over 3,400 soldiers, 1,700 paramilitary personnel, together with 149 vessels and a helicopter have joined in the rescue mission.

The 76.5 metre vessel had been in service for nearly 20 years and could carry up to 534 people.

It went through an annual maintenance in 2014, and was qualified to cruise until April 25, 2016.

A mourning ceremony was held on Sunday.

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