Frustrated by days of waiting and no word about the fate of their loved ones, family members of the missing from the capsized Eastern Star cruise ship on the Yangtze River have made repeated attempts to get to the scene of the disaster. But each time some of the more than 1,000 anxious relatives of the missing have tried to get through, they have been turned back by police and paramilitary officers and told to wait at their hotels in the small county of Jianli in Hubei province. "We came all the way here in the hope of knowing the latest information … But now we are just waiting here like idiots, unable to do anything. All they've told us is to wait for further notice," a man from Nanjing said. A 54-year-old Changzhou man whose wife and sister-in-law were on board the ship said: "I saw at least three vehicles carrying bodies wrapped in yellow plastic bags drive directly into the funeral parlour. But I don't even know whether they're from my family." Relatives said they were constantly blocked from going to the site of the vessel and had little information about the recovery efforts. As of last night, 77 bodies had been pulled from the water, but there were no details from the authorities about who the deceased were, making it impossible for the families to know who was among the dead. "They have pulled so many bodies from the water, why can't they take photos of them and show them to the relatives to identify them? It's not a very transparent process," another relative from Nanjing said. The families demanded the authorities not wait until all of the bodies had been recovered to start the identification process. That approach could take much longer, they said. Desperate for more information, more than 20 people from Changzhou in Jiangsu province walked more than 10km through pouring rain early on Wednesday morning to try to reach the scene. They made it through the one police line but were stopped at a second checkpoint by officers and sent back to their hotels in police cars. They made another attempt by car yesterday morning, but this time they were stopped at the first cordon and waited there in rain for two hours, one of the relatives said. Unable to go on, they returned to their hotel. Another group of about 80 people from Nanjing also marched towards the rescue site on arriving in Jianli county on Wednesday night after an eight-hour bus trip. They got as far as a second police cordon at about 3am yesterday. A senior police officer promised to let them go in groups to the site that morning, and brought in buses for them to sleep in. Some of the members of the group were picked up at about 7am and dropped off at Damazhou pier, the base for recovery operations about 3km from the site of the disaster. But there was nothing for the families to see. "It was raining heavily on the river and it was very misty, we could not see anything," a relative said. "There was not much use being there. We want only to confirm [whether our relatives were among the dead] as soon as possible. "We also know we should not interfere with the rescue work." The family members later demanded to meet Nanjing officials who had also come to Jianli. The meeting was finally arranged and the families were told that the authorities would improve communication with them. Some other family members demanded the government set up a dedicated team to investigate why the vessel went down and ensure the public could monitor the investigation so it was transparent. They also demanded an apology from transport authorities. "The captain of the ship should be held responsible. Why didn't he send an alert when the ship capsized, but had time to put on a life jacket instead?" 68-year-old relative Yin Yanxiang said.