The death toll from the sinking of the Eastern Star cruise ship rose sharply to over 400 on Saturday, after the upturned hull was lifted out of the water.
Only 14 people survived the accident, while 36 remain missing.
Rescuers have extended their search scope to some 13-hundred kilometers from the sinking site downstream to the Wusong estuary in Shanghai.
Authorities say that over 250 boats and 25-hundred people will join the search operation that has already involved thousands of military and police personnel.
Liu Xiaowu, chief of staff of the Guangzhou Military Area Command, vows to continue the search operation for as long as it takes.
"All officers worked continuously for seven hours. Yesterday the civil authorities told us the victims' families have asked us to continue searching. So the command post ordered us to continue to conduct a 'blanket search' to rescue survivors and retrieve the remains of victims."
The Eastern Star was carrying 456 people on an 11-day trip when it was overturned by sudden, severe winds late on Monday.
On Saturday, an official representing the owner of the ship apologized to the families of the victims.
Jiang Zhao, general manager of Chongqing Eastern Shipping Company:
"I feel deep sorrow over this major incident. Firstly I want to express my sincere apologies to the victims of this incident and their families. I want to express my deep, deep thanks for the attention and concerns of people across the whole country have given this incident, and to express my deep thanks for the search and rescue efforts from across the country."
Meanwhile, more workers are rushing to assist in providing funeral services for the victims in Jianli County.
Zhang Shifeng, from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, says this aspect of the work in the aftermath of the disaster aims to let the deceased rest in peace and offer consolation to the victims' families.
"Now the authorities have intensified the body retrieval work. Funeral service is facing heavy pressure caused by a lack of professional staff as more and more bodies are found. Three funeral parlors in Hubei Province are working very hard. Meanwhile, we have transferred more staff members from other provinces. Staff members from Jiangsu, Shanghai and Tianjin have been dispatched to help in Hubei."
Efforts are also made to comfort the bereaved families.
Zhang says a working group has been formed to help the families let out their grief.
"The working group has taken effective measures to meet the families' wishes for mourning over their beloved ones claimed by the Yangtze River. The measures will be carried out in an orderly fashion. As for the families' wishes of holding memorial ceremonies, the working group will satisfy their needs in organized forms."
Zhang adds that related departments are researching on the issue of compensation for the victims' families.
Local authorities say they have basically finished extracting DNA from most of the family members who have arrived and that identification will be completed soon.
A mourning service has been scheduled for later this morning at the shipwreck site.
In a show of respect for the victims, China's major TV channels will suspend certain programs or advertisements that highlight celebrations for three days.
Investigators had not yet reached a conclusion regarding the cause of the disaster, while Chinese authorities have pledged transparency in the ongoing probe.
For CRI, I'm Luo Wen.
《 CRI在线收听：Search for Last Shipwreck Victims Extended》出自：天天学英语