Chinese authorities began efforts late Thursday to right the Eastern Star, the cruise ship that capsized on the Yangtze River earlier this week in China’s deadliest maritime disaster in decades.
Righting the vessel will allow rescuers to “search for the missing persons in the shortest possible time,” state media cited the transport ministry as saying.
Earlier, rescue workers cut into the hull, and more than 200 divers searched all the cabins of the ship but did not find any survivors, Xinhua reported.
Fourteen people have survived the disaster, including the captain and chief engineer, a number that has barely changed since Tuesday, the day after the Eastern Star capsized during a storm.
The confirmed death toll has risen to 77, CNN cited authorities as saying.
More than 360 people, many in their 60s and 70s, remain unaccounted for, and authorities appear to be bracing for the worst.
The ship was said to be carrying 456 people when the disaster struck on Monday night.
Relatives have asked the government to release the names of survivors and the 77 people confirmed to have died so far, and questioned why most of those rescued were crew members, Reuters reported.
Some demanded to know why the boat did not dock in the storm, and how the rescued captain and crew members had had time to put on life vests but did not sound any alarm.
Beijing has pledged that there would be “no cover-up” of an investigation.
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