Yangtze sinking: 60 investigators to probe ship disaster

Yangtze sinking: 60 investigators to probe ship disaster
The damaged interior of the Eastern Star
PHOTO: China Daily/ANN


The State Council, China's Cabinet, has assembled a 60-member team to investigate last week's cruise ship capsizing to find the cause of the country's worst maritime disaster in seven decades.

More than 200 documents with more than 500,000 characters have been created based on interviews with surviving crew members, witnesses, those who designed and modified the ship, travel agencies and local transportation and maritime authorities.

The team, led by the head of the State Administration of Work Safety, includes senior officials from the ministries of transport, industry and information technology, public security, civil affairs and water resources. It also includes senior officials from the China Meteorological Administration, Hubei province and Chongqing, and experts on law and meteorology.

The work safety administration said the probe is continuing with interviews, analysis of ship and weather conditions, and collection evidence. The statement said that video footage and other evidence has been collected from the ship, and that weather radar and other data are being analysed.

"The reason behind the sinking is very complicated and has to be determined after scientific identification and necessary simulating experiments," the administration said in a statement.

Xinhua News Agency said that 323 items that belonged to passengers-including jewelry, purses, toys and suitcases-can be claimed at the funeral home in Jianli, Hubei province. Staff members have labelled all the items based on information from tickets and identity cards.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission has also started claim settlement work.

A total of 340 insurance policies are expected to pay out a total of 92.52 million yuan (S$20 million). The capsized ship's company is expected to collect 15.7 million yuan, of which 10 million has already been paid.

Travel agencies will claim 12 million yuan, while the policies of 396 passengers will pay out 61.69 million yuan.

The remainder will go to crew members or their families.

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