China: 2 dead, 13 missing after boat capsizes in lake

China: 2 dead, 13 missing after boat capsizes in lake

Children reportedly account for many of missing after boat capsizes during 3-hour tour in Sichuan’s Bailong Lake

By Mahmut Atanur

BEIJING (AA) - Two people have been confirmed dead and 13 others -- many of them children -- remain missing after a leisure boat capsized in a lake in China’s southwest Sichuan Province.

State news agency Xinhua cited rescuers saying Monday that a child was among the fatalities, and no signs of life were detected in the wreckage of the vessel, found around 65 meters (213 feet) under water with the help of underwater cameras.

Three survivors were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment and are in a stable condition.

The boat had reportedly been carrying 18 people -- many of them young couples with their children -- on a three-hour tour of Bailong Lake in Guangyuan City when it capsized during windy conditions Saturday afternoon.

A staff member at the lake resort told Xinhua that they had received a bad weather warning at 14.00 (0600GTM) Saturday and suspended boat tours.

The vessel reportedly capsized around 40 minutes later.

A survivor named Wang Mingxing told the agency that his friends on board had decided to not wear life jackets due to the warm weather and also helped their children take theirs off.

"I grabbed a life jacket before the boat sank. It happened too fast. I saw just two or three men in the water, and soon they disappeared," Wang said.

Rescue efforts are ongoing at the lake, where more than 300 rescuers and medical personnel have been deployed.

According to the maritime department of Lizhou District, the boat was designed to carry 40 people and was owned by a local ship company.

The incident occurred just over a year after a cruise ship capsized in the Yangtze River, killing 454 people in China's worst ferry disaster in nearly seven decades.

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