The ship named Dongfangzhixing or "Eastern Star" was headed from Nanjing to Chongqing when it sank at around 9:28 pm last night in the Jianli section of the river, officials from the navigation administration said. Eight people have so far been rescued, including the captain and the chief engineer, who both claimed the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
There were 405 Chinese passengers, five travel agency workers and 47 crew members on board, according to the officials.
Strong winds and heavy rains have hampered the rescue work. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has rushed to the site to supervise rescue operations, state-run CCTV said.
A total of 22 people, including eight foreigners, were killed when a tugboat sank in the river in January.
Ten people have been saved as of Tuesday morning as rescuers battle strong winds and a heavy downpour while searching for the others on a passenger ship, carrying 458 people, that sank overnight in China's Yangtze River.Authorities have located the site where the ship sank and more than 30 boats have been dispatched for the rescue.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered a state council team to guide search and rescue work.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has instructed the ministry of transport to mobilise all resources available to speed up the search and rescue work, and the treatment of the rescued victims.
Li has left for the site of the accident, on behalf of Xi, to supervise rescue affairs.