[WORLD NEWS ★★]
HOPES FADE FOR FINDING MORE CHINESE SHIP ACCIDENT SURVIVORS
(P1) Dozens of people broke through a police CORDON as they marched in protest to the site of a sunken cruise ship in the Yangtze River to demand news of missing relatives.
(P2) Rescuers searched for more than 400 missing people, many of them ELDERLY, but hopes were fading of finding more survivors from the worst shipping disaster in modern Chinese history.
(P4) Frustrated by the level of information coming from local authorities, about 80 family members hired a bus to take them to the rescue site.
(P5) “This isn’t going to be much use, we’re just doing this for the government to see,” said organizer Wang Feng.
(P6) The protesters later broke through a cordon of 20 to 25 paramilitary police who had tried to prevent them from going through a ROADBLOCK.
(P7) 47 of the relatives asked the government to release the names of the living and the dead to them.
(P8) Other relatives questioned why most of the people rescued were crew members, why the boat did not DOCK, and why the captain and crew members had time to DON their life vests but not sound any alarm.
(P9) State television showed rescuers and SCORES of divers working through the night.
(P10) Rescue efforts have not SLACKENED although divers face difficulties such as cabin doors blocked by tables and beds. There is also the fear that cutting holes in the HULL could burst pockets of air that may be keeping people alive.
(P11) “Although there’s lots of work to do, saving people is still being put first,” Transport Ministry SPOKESMAN Xu Chengguang told reporters.
(P12) TV pictures showed a rain-soaked Premier Li Keqiang, who is on the scene OVERSEEING rescue efforts, bowing in respect to two bodies laid out on the deck of a boat covered in sheets.
(P14) Some relatives were already BRACING FOR THE WORST.
(P15) “Yesterday I still had some hope. The boat is big and the water hadn’t gone all the way in. Now, it’s been more than 40 hours. I ask you, what do I have left?” said Wang Feng, a 35-year-old wedding photographer whose father was on the ship.
(P16) The ship was on an 11-day voyage UPSTREAM from Nanjing, near Shanghai, to Chongqing.
(P17) The People’s Daily said the ship passed INSPECTIONS by authorities in Chongqing last month. But according to documents from a local MARITIME WATCHDOG, it was investigated and held by authorities due to DEFECTS in 2013.
(P18) The Nanjing Maritime Safety Administration investigated the Eastern Star as part of a safety campaign into passenger FERRIES and tour boats, and held the ship along with five other VESSELS, according to three documents on the BUREAU‘s website.
(P19) The documents gave no details on the defects but said the issues were reported to the Chongqing maritime safety bureau.
(P21) Zhang Hui, a tour guide who survived the disaster, told the official Xinhua news agency that it was raining so hard water was SEEPING through cabin windows, and that the ship then LISTED violently.
(P22) “I thought, ‘this isn’t right’, and I told my colleague, ‘I think we’re in trouble’. After I said that, the ship FLIPPED OVER. It only took 30 seconds or a minute,” Zhang said.
(P23) Li Yongjun, captain of a freighter that passed near the Eastern Star shortly before it capsized, told Xinhua the weather was so bad he decided to ANCHOR and wait out the storm.
(P24) He said he heard a voice from the river crying, “Help!” just after 10 p.m. (1200 ET), about 30 minutes after state media has said the Eastern Star capsized.
(P25) “The rain was just too heavy, there was no way to MOUNT a rescue, so I shouted over, ‘Swim to the bank!’,” Li said.
(P29) Accidents of this MAGNITUDE are uncommon in China. State media said it was the worst recorded ship disaster on the Yangtze River. In 1948, the steamship Kiangya blew up on the Huangpu River, killing more than 1,000 people.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- There have been many news stories of ships sinking lately, but there have also been airplane and train disasters. Do you get more nervous on a boat, a plane, or a train?
- What weather occurrence is being blamed for the sinking of the Eastern Star?
- Were there any earlier concerns about the safety of this ship?
- What demands are being made by the relatives of the passengers on the ship?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Bracing for the worst
- Flip over
- Freak occurrence