Three people have reportedly died and five are still missing after a boat carrying 16 people collided with a container ship in China.

A huge search and rescue mission is currently underway after the collision, which took place in the Yangtze River near to Shanghai on Sunday night, December 13.

People’s Daily reports that several people have been rescued as part of the operation but five others are still missing while three people have been confirmed dead.

The cargo ship reportedly sank in the Yangtze Estuary while approaching Shanghai late Sunday night or early Monday morning, December 14.

The sank ship is believed to be the Chinese container ship XIN QI SHENG 69 which was travelling from Xiamen to Shanghai.

Reports state the boat collided with another container ship called Oceana. The Oceana is 165 metres long, weighs 17,769 tonnes and carries 1285 containers with 19 crew members. It is currently anchored at the Yangtze River estuary, according to media reports.