Survivors say the ship sank within two minutes

By Tara Fowler
Updated June 02, 2015 07:30 AM
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Credit: STR/AFP/Getty

Five people are dead and hundreds more are missing after a Chinese cruise ship capsized in the Yangtze River on Monday evening.

Rescue efforts have been complicated by the poor weather conditions, which led to the Oriental Star capsizing in the first place, The New York Times reports.

Up to 18 people have been rescued thus far, some of whom were found inside the upside-down vessel. Others swam ashore after the ship flipped over. They were reportedly the ones to raise the alarm, as the ship sent no emergency signal, according to the BBC.

The ship’s captain and chief engineer have been taken into police custody. During questioning they claimed the ship was hit by a cyclone, but as of Tuesday, China’s weather service could only confirm that there had been “severe convective weather” in the area.

Survivors say the ship sank within two minutes, The Guardian reports.

Families were frustrated as they waited to hear news of their loved ones. “They don’t want to tell us anything, and they treat us like we’re going to do something bad,” a woman told the Times. “We just want to know where they are. Our family lost five people.”