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"Jiangya" Shipwreck in 1948- A Tragedy More Serious Than Titanic


The explosion of Jiangya Ship out on the sea from the Yangtze River outlet 52 years ago once killed 2,353 people, 836 more than those in the Titanic accident, therefore claiming the biggest victim number among world top four ship accidents.

This is a revelation by Chen Jianguo, deputy chief-editor of commission for compiling navigation history of the Yangtze River.

Published by the People's Communication Press on November 1997, "A Brief History of Navigation on the Yangtze River" says the Jiangya ship, altogether with 3253 passengers aboard, suddenly exploded after sailing out of Wusong Estuary, December 3, 1948. "The victim number hit over 2350". While according to Wuhan Evening reporting, the "Brief History" published in May 1992 says there is altogether 2798 people on board, and " a total of 1483 passengers and crew died" after the explosion and sinking of the ship. Here appears a gap of 867 number of victims between the two.

The 79-year-old Chen says he has been to Shanghai many times for old newspaper reports on the accident, calling on many people concerned. Investigation shows there are more than 3200 people on that ship, including 2607 ticket-holders, 191 crew, and over 400 disbanded Kuomintang soldiers and pick-ups of the crew who have no tickets.

After the accident, 2353 victims are identified and more than 900 people get rescued, so we should say the "Brief History" carries precise numbers.

The other two big ship accidents in the world are: on April 29, 1865, a US ship exploded on the Mississippi, 1450 people died and, on October 16, 1936, a Chinese warship sank on the Yangtze River, claiming over 1200 lives.