Two cargo ships collided upstream from the Three Gorges Dam on China's longest Yangtze River, leaving seven sailors missing, local authorities said Saturday.
The collision took place at about 10:35 PM on Friday near Quxikou, about seven kilometers upstream from the dam, in central China's Hubei Province, said Ji Yujian, deputy director of the Three Gorges Navigation Administration.
Ten people, including sailors and cargo owners, were rescued after the collision, in which one ship carrying 263 heads of cattle capsized, Ji said.
Three of the rescued are being treated at a hospital in the county of Zigui, Ji said.
"Yet seven sailors and the cattle remain missing and nine rescue boats are searching the area," he said.
The location of the capsized ship has been identified, he said. The ship fell down about 90 meters deep into water 250 to 300 meters away from Quxikou, he said.
Initial investigation shows that the sunken cattle ship is 30 meters long and six meters wide with a loading capacity of 250 tons. The ship was registered in Wanzhou District, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.
The legs of each cattle were bound together tightly when the ship sank.
The other boat hauling coal was registered in Yichang, Hubei.
"The collision did not affect normal traffic on the Yangtze River near the Three Gorges Dam," Ji said.
(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2006)