SHAOYANG, Hunan - Eleven people, mostly students from primary and middle schools, died and 16 others were injured after a ferryboat capsized and sank in a river in Central Hunan province Friday afternoon, local authorities confirmed early Saturday morning.
Rescuers are still searching for three missing and two owners of the boat, Yin Xixiang and Yin Xinquan, were put in police custody, sources with the Shaoyang County government said.
The accident happened at about 3:20 pm Friday in Fuyi River in the county, some 250 km southwest of Hunan provincial capital of Changsha.
Thirteen passengers who escaped the accident unhurt have gone back to their own homes or schools, the sources said.
The deceased students are all from two primary and middle schools in the town of Tangtianshi. They were returning homes for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday for family reunions that falls on September 12.
The ferryboat was chartered by the schools to send the students back homes across the river.
Police are further investigating into the cause of the accident.