Salvage crews have successfully completed the slow and complex procedure to lift the wreckage of a cruise ship that was partially submerged off the coast of an Italian island.
Residents of Giglio Island and workers cheered alike early Tuesday morning after officials declared the end of the painstaking 19-hour procedure to pull the Costa Concordia upright after 20 months resting on a giant reef.
"This is a very important moment, a great moment. We are very moved because we had to bear this violent event and we transformed it into a great sense of responsibility," said Giglio Mayor Sergio Ortelli.
Sunrise fully exposed the ship's mangled and algae-covered starboard side, but the ship as a whole remained intact.
The salvage operation will allow rescue crews to search for the bodies of two of the 32 people killed when the Costa Concordia ran aground on January 13, 2012.
The ship will undergo repairs so it can be towed away from Giglio Island sometime next year.
The captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, is currently on trial for manslaughter. Prosecutors say he caused the accident by steering too close to shore, and then abandoned the ship before most of those on board were accounted for.