Chinese coastal freighter Hua Chun 19 sank in the early hours of November 19, and authorities told local media that casualties included two dead and four missing.
Five crewmembers were rescued by China Rescue and Salvage and search efforts are ongoing. The survivors showed signs of hypothermia and were taken to a hospital for recovery.
Authorities say that the chances of finding additional crewmembers alive are slim.
“According to the rescued seamen, the vessel capsized in a minute and everything happened too fast to consider abandoning the ship, so many of the seamen might [have been trapped] inside the ship’s wreck”, authorities told local media.
Hua Chun 19 was carrying 4,000 tons of steel products from Qingdao to Guangdong Province. Early reports indicate that a cargo shift may have affected vessel stability, leading to a severe list and rapid capsizing. Investigations into the exact cause continue.
Search and rescue crews also said that there was an oil spill from the vessel, and a cleanup ship was dispatched to contain pollution.