Listen
Rescuers salvage the wreck after a tug boat sank in the Yangtze River near Jingjiang City in east China's Jiangsu Province, Jan. 16, 2015.
Rescuers salvage the wreck after a tug boat sank in the Yangtze River near Jingjiang City in east China's Jiangsu Province, Jan. 16, 2015.

Rescuers have rescued three Chinese passengers on board a tug boat that sank while testing water in Fubei Channel on the Yangtze River at about 3 p.m. Thursday, and are still searching for other 22 missing. Eight foreigners including four Singaporean, one Japanese, one Indonesian, one Malaysian and one Indian, are among the missing. (Xinhua/Shen Peng)

Rescuers salvage the wreck after a tug boat sank in the Yangtze River near Jingjiang City in east China's Jiangsu Province, Jan. 16, 2015. Rescuers have rescued three Chinese passengers on board a tug boat that sank while testing water in Fubei Channel on the Yangtze River at about 3 p.m. Thursday, and are still searching for other 22 missing. Eight foreigners including four Singaporean, one Japanese, one Indonesian, one Malaysian and one Indian, are among the missing. (Xinhua/Shen Peng)

NANJING, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers have saved three people after a tug boat sank on the Yangtze River in east China's Jiangsu Province on Thursday, said local rescue headquarters.

Twenty-five people aboard the boat fell into the water, including eight foreigners -- four Singaporeans, an Indonesian, a Malaysian, an Indian and a Japanese national -- when it sank while conducting tests in Fubei Channel, near Jingjiang City, on the Yangtze River at about 3 p.m. Thursday, according to the provincial maritime rescue center.

About 30 professional vessels, including patrol boats and tug boats, have been dispatched to search for the 22 missing people near the spot where the boat sank.

Rescuers are trying to stabilize the capsized boat and lift it out of the water by crane. However, rescue work has been difficult due to the swift current and cold water.

Wang Zhenkai, one of the three rescued, told Xinhua reporters that he was the interpreter for a 60-year-old Japanese engineer.

"Only the two of us were in the cockpit. We had just finished the load test of the boat's main engine when the vessel suddenly turned on its side. Water immediately flooded in," he said.

Wang, from Yantai City, Shandong Province, was saved at 5:36 a.m. after rescuers cut through the bottom of the boat. He has been hospitalized and is in stable condition.

He survived by clinging to a hydraulic pump. Wang said he grabbed the Japanese engineer, but later the current broke their grasp as the boat started to sink.

Zhang Lei, vice governor of Jiangsu, and Li Shixin, vice director of the National Maritime Bureau, are overseeing the on-site rescue work. Diplomatic staff have arrived to help verify the identities of the foreign nationals on board the vessel.

The 30-meter-long boat, with a weight of 368 tonnes, was manufactured by Anhui Bengbu Shenzhou Machinery Co. Ltd. in October. The company did not report the vessel's route or testing plans to port authorities.


Listen