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April 5, 2012

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2 students killed in boat crash

Two Shanghai university students died and two others were missing yesterday when their speedboat collided with a cargo ship on Taihu Lake in neighboring Suzhou. Another four students were injured.

The maritime administration in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, was continuing its search for the missing late yesterday. The injured were in stable condition, said the Shanghai government.

There were eight people on board the speedboat - six students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a part-time tourism guide and the driver. The guide and one Jiao Tong freshman died. The guide was a student from East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai.

The other six students were classmates at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, said the university. It did not disclose their names.

The collision happened about 1pm as the students were returning from Xishan Island in the lake when their boat crashed into a ship. Witnesses said the boat hit cables behind the cargo ship that it was using to tow another ship. There was no damage reported to either of the other two ships.

A witness went online to describe the scene as "horrible with the top of the boat wiped out on the crash impact."

"I saw blood on the deck," said one passer-by online, posting pictures showing the area condoned off by the police and ambulances waiting after the boat was taken to a dock.

An official with Suzhou's maritime administration said search teams were looking for the missing students.

"The two people sitting at the stern fell into the water on impact," said the maritime official.

The Shanghai Tourism Administration said the students were participating in a tour group organized by a travel service website,, and arrived in Suzhou a day earlier for the Qingming Festival. The group included 23 members, all students from Jiao Tong University. They went to Xishan Island in three speedboats.


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