(GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy) — The wreckage of the Costa Concordia cruise liner has been pulled upright after a 19-hour, first-of-its-kind engineering feat to salvage the ship that slammed into a reef off the Italian coast 20 months ago.
”The parbuckling operation has been successfully completed,” the project’s organizers said in a statement early Tuesday morning. “The wreck is now upright and resting safely on the specially built artificial sea bed, at a depth of approximately 30 meters.”
The daring operation to right the Concordia began early Monday morning off the coast of Tuscany and had been expected to take no more than 12 hours. The operation continued an additional seven hours and dragged into Tuesday morning after a fierce thunderstorm and some initial delays with the vast system of steel cables, pulleys and counterweights.
The cruise ship is now resting on underwater platforms and will eventually be towed back to shore and broken apart for scrap.
Celebrations rang out as the most complicated salvage operation in maritime history is now 80 percent complete.
The Costa Concordia struck a reef near Giglio Island on Jan. 13, 2012, killing 32 of the 4,200 passengers and crew members. The bodies of a passenger and waiter on board have not been recovered.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN