Beijing: Twelve people have been confirmed dead and eight others remain missing after a ship sank in south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The passenger ship, from which 28 people have been rescued, collided with a cargo ship loaded with porcelain clay on Sunday on the Xunjiang River in the city of Guiping, vice mayor with the municipal government Zeng Jianqing said on Thursday.

The ship was located by two divers at a depth of 200 meters on Wednesday. Rescuers have been doing salvage work and 10 bodies have been retrieved, Zeng said.

Local authorities are trying to confirm the identities of the deceased and verify the number of those still missing.

According to the preliminary investigation, the cargo ship was out of the scheduled shipping lane before it collided with the passenger ship, and the cargo ship is mostly responsible for the accident, said Tu Jianyou, deputy director with the maritime bureau of Guiping.

Meanwhile, the passenger ship was overloaded at the time of the collision, Tu said.

The local government has dispatched various types of rescue teams to search for the missing people, recover the dead bodies and salvage the remnants of the passenger ship.