China confirms no Taiwan travelers involved in ferry accident


Beijing – China’s Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange (CSTE) confirmed Tuesday that no Taiwanese were on board a ferry that capsized and sank on the Yangtze River during a storm Monday night.

The confirmation was obtained by the Beijing office of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA), which asked the CSTE to check whether any Taiwanese travelers were involved in the accident, TSTA Beijing Office Director Yang Jui-tsung said.

The TSTA and CSTE are the two groups that deal with tourism issues across the Taiwan Strait.

In Taipei, Chou Jih-shine, vice chairman of Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Taiwan’s top negotiating body in cross-Taiwan Strait affairs, told reporters here that after a preliminary check, no Taiwanese travelers were affected by the accident.

At 9:28 p.m. Monday, a cruise ship named the Eastern Star, carrying 458 people, was hit by a storm while sailing on the Yangtze River in Hubei Province and capsized and sank.

According to China Central Television (CCTV), rescuers have saved 10 people, but their work has been hampered by strong winds and heavy rain.

CCTV said the ferry sank in the Damazhou waterway section, where the river is 15 meters deep.

The ferry, which has a maximum capacity of 534 people, is owned by Chongqing Eastern Shipping Corp., which mainly provide services on tourism routes in the popular Three Gorges river canyon region, the state-owned TV network said.