BEIJING (AP) — Singaporean, Indian and Japanese nationals were among 20 people missing Friday after a tugboat sank suddenly during a test voyage in the Yangtze River in eastern China, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said.
Three people were rescued when the boat sank Thursday afternoon in the river's Fubei Channel in the eastern province of Jiangsu, the report said. Rescuers said they believed people were trapped in boat's cabin and were using a crane to try to lift the sunken boat out of the water, Xinhua said.
Seven or eight foreigners were among the missing and included people from Singapore, India and Japan, Xinhua said, without giving any further breakdown of the nationalities. The missing included the boat's owner and engineers, it said.
Wang Chenkai, one of the three rescued people, told Xinhua he was the interpreter for a Japanese engineer who was pulled away by swirling currents as the boat went down. Wang said he survived by holding onto a hydraulic pump.
"Only the two of us were in the cockpit. We had just finished the host load test of the boat's main engine when the vessel suddenly slid over. Water immediately filled in," Wang was quoted as saying.
The Jiangsu provincial government's news office said that 27 vessels were involved in the rescue operation, but had no further details about the sinking. Jiangsu maritime officials reached by phone declined to comment.