Search after Chinese boat capsizes in Yangtze river

Members of a rescue team (orange) look at a section of the hull (front C) of a tugboat which sank on a trial voyage in Jingjiang, east China"s Jiangsu province on 16 January 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Only the hull of the overturned tugboat remained above water as rescue workers attempted to right it

About 25 people are missing after a tug boat capsized in the Yangtze river in eastern China, state media report.

The Xinhua news agency said the boat overturned on Thursday while it was conducting tests on the river near Zhangjiagang, in Jiangsu province.

Eight foreigners were among those on board, including Singaporean, Indian, Malaysian and Japanese nationals.

Three people have been rescued from the water and the search continued overnight.

Rescue workers are using a crane to try to right the boat, and believe the rest of the passengers and crew may be inside. But fast and deep currents have made rescue work "extremely difficult", reported Xinhua.

The agency said four Singaporeans, an Indian, a Malaysian, an Indonesian and a Japanese were onboard. Earlier reports had said a Frenchman may have been onboard as well.

Flooded 'within seconds'

One survivor who was rescued early on Friday, Wang Chenhua, said they had been taking the vessel for a trial voyage.

Mr Wang, who was in the cockpit with a 60-year-old Japanese engineer acting as his translator, said that soon after they had conducted a load test for the boat's main engine, the boat "suddenly turned over" to the left.

He said water rushed into the cockpit which was fully flooded "within 20 seconds". He survived by holding onto a hydraulic pump that was not submerged.

Mr Wang added that he had tried to hold on to the Japanese engineer, but they were separated as the boat sank further.

The boat was constructed in China's Anhui province last October. Local officials told Xinhua the boat had not properly reported its route and work plans to the port authorities.

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