Yangtze ship may have been hit by tornado - 7 confirmed dead, hundreds still missing

By Erik Crouch, June 3, 2015

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The search goes on for more than 400 passengers who were aboard a Yangtze tour ferry that sank in Hubei Province on Monday night. Media reports have varied, but the New York Times reports that 437 people (of the original 458) are still unaccounted for.

The latest theory is that extremely high winds caused a tornado, which may have lasted for 15-20 minutes. If a twister, rather than simply high winds, hit the ship, it may account for many reports that the vessel sank in a matter of just a few minutes.

Hundreds of divers are searching the capsized ship for survivors. So far, positive news has been sparse - many aboard were elderly, and only 14 have been found alive.

Seven people are confirmed dead, but that number is likely to rise as recovery teams get deeper into the wreckage.

This incident has the potential to be China's worse maritime wreck since the explosion of the SS Jiangya, apassenger steamship that exploded in the Huangpu River, near Shanghai, in 1948, killing thousands.

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