400 hundred people still missing as rescue efforts continue
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has expressed his closeness to the Chinese people after a cruise ship carrying mainly elderly passengers capsized in the Yangtze River during a violent storm on Monday night.
Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday General Audience, the Pope turned his thoughts to the victims and their families as hopes of finding any more survivors from the sunken vessel fade.
“In a particular way I wish to express my closeness to the Chinese people in these difficult moments after the ferry disaster in the Yangtze River. I pray for the victims, their families and for all involved in the rescue efforts,” he said.
As of midday Wednesday, over 400 passengers on the Eastern Star cruise ship are still unaccounted for. Thus far, 14 people have been found alive, including the captain, a 65-year-old woman and a tour guide who survived 10 hours in the river despite the fact that he cannot swim. Yet with heavy rains and high winds impeding rescue efforts, hopes are fading as family members still await news.
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.