China announced Thursday that it would pay 995,000 yuan (some US$124,400) to families of the Yangtze River ship collision victims.
After ten days of negotiation, the victim families signed an agreement with the representative of concerned governmental department, accepting the compensation.
The tragedy occurred on the Yangtze River's middle reaches near Shishou City, central China's Hubei Province, at around 9:40 AM on Dec. 25, when a ship from Changsha, capital of the neighboring Hunan Province, collided with a local ship. Altogether 13 people fell into the water.
Two people were rescued while three others were confirmed dead. The remaining eight are still missing.
The governments of Shishou City and neighboring Jinzhou City have mobilized more than 100 vessels and some 2,000 people to take part in the rescue operation.
Rescuers were searching for those missing within a range of 60 km downstream from the accident site, according to local sources.
As of Friday afternoon, the missing people have not been found.
Investigation on the cause of the accident is underway.
(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2006)