Shipwrecked Concordia wrested off reef, no sign of bodies

1:37 PM, Sep 16, 2013   |    comments
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GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy - Engineers say they have succeeded in wresting the hull of the shipwrecked Concordia from an Italian reef where it has been embedded since it capsized in January 2012.

Engineer Sergio Girotto told reporters Monday that the crippled vessel wouldn't budge for some three hours after the operation to right it began. After 6,000 tons of force were applied, Girotto said "we saw the detachment" using undersea cameras.

He said the cameras did not immediately reveal any sign of two bodies that were never recovered.

The Concordia crashed into a reef Jan. 13, 2012, killing 32 people, including Jerry and Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake.

The lifting began at about 9 a.m. local time Monday, three hours late.

The delay was due to a storm that pushed back the positioning of a barge hosting a floating command room center. There, engineers using remote controls will guide a synchronized leverage system of pulleys and counterweights to delicately nudge the ship free from its rocky seabed perch.

The operation, known in nautical parlance a parbuckling, is a proven method to raise capsized vessels. But the Concordia has been described as the largest cruise ship ever to require the complex rotation.

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