Thursday, 4 June 2015

Yangtze cruise ship disaster: Man survives after wife asked him to her go........

A Chinese man survived the devastating cruise ship accident in Yangtze Riverafter his wife, trapped in a cabin, asked him to leave her just moments before the ship carrying 456 people capsized.
Wu Jianqiang, 58, was travelling on the cruise ship Eastern Star with his 57-year-old wife Li Xiuzhen when it sank on Monday night after being hit by a tornado in Jianli in central China's Hubei Province. The couple had come to Nanjing from their home in north China's Tianjin on vacation.
According to Wu's account of the accident, the couple was lying in bed holding hands together when the ship tilted. The bed then slid to one side of the room just as a large amount of water began to flood into the cabin.
Li was then trapped under the heavy bed and could not get free despite Wu's attempts to pull her out. "Let go!" Li shouted to her husband. Shocked by his wife's request, Wu loosened his grip on his wife's hands and was then pushed outside by the water.
The ship turned completely over at almost the same moment. Wu then swam for several minutes before he was saved, state-run reported. "I might have died if my wife had not let go of my hands," Wu recalled tearfully. His wife remains unaccounted for.
Fourteen survivors have been rescued, 77 bodies have been found while 300 people are still missing. 
Li rushed to the site of the tragedy and supervised rescue operations. However, authorities have faced criticism due to the inability of the rescuers to find more survivors and the time taken to assemble necessary equipment.
The seven-member standing committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by Xi met today for the first time after the tragedy and took stock of the operations.
The leaders called on rescuers to "take all possible measures" to save lives from the cruise ship and demanded serious investigation into the cause of the tragedy.
A statement issued after the meeting stressed how arduous the rescue had been for local government authorities and military units to ensure that the entire ship is searched.
Meanwhile, attention has also been turned on the captain of the ship Zhang Shunwen who along with the chief engineers escaped from the sinking ship and swam to the shore amid reports that he has ignored and did not take serious notice of a severe weather warning. The were being held at a police station though they have not yet been charged.
Zhang claimed that the ship sank in less than two minutes in a Tornado giving no time for sending out a distress signal or warning to the passengers. A video from surveillance camera of another ship travelling on the opposite side half hour before the tragedy showed the well lit Eastern Star cruising in heavy rain and thunder storm.
Earlier, rescuers cut a 55-by-60-cm rectangular hole on the bottom of the overturned ship to give divers easier access to the hull.
The rescuers have opened three holes in the hull to reach more than 350 people who could still be trapped in the ship.
Air pockets may have formed at the bottom of the ship when it overturned quickly, said Li Qixiu, an expert with the Naval University of Engineering, which has participated in the rescue effort.
"If trapped in the air pocket, passengers could still have a chance of surviving," Li said, adding that a 65-year-old woman and a 21-year-old survivor were pulled out alive from the air pocket.
However, Li warned that oxygen at the bottom of the ship could grow thinner over time, diminishing chances of survival of those trapped, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.