There remains no chance of finding any more survivors of the capsized cruise ship in China's Yangtze River as the vessel is turned over, authorities have said.
The Eastern Star, which was carrying 456 people, capsized on Monday night during a tornado in Jianli. But the cause of the sinking is not yet known.
Emergency workers will now search the cabins of the 76-metre Eastern Star for bodies rather than survivors, according to the BBC.
The transport ministry spokesman Xu Chengguang told a news conference late last night: “In a situation in which the overall judgement is that there is no chance of people being alive, we could start the work of righting the boat.”
Hundreds of people are still missing as only 97 bodies have been recovered so far. In what could be China’s worst shipping disaster since the SS Kiangya sank in 1948, only 14 survivors have been found.
Two cranes managed to lift the ship after disaster teams worked through Thursday night to right the vessel this morning.
At the site of the disaster in Jianli, Hubei province, the majority of the four-deck ship remains under water and images show that the roof of the vessel appears to be crushed. But teams are preparing to drain water from the ship and salvage it, CNN has said.
In pictures: China ferry disaster
In pictures: China ferry disaster
1/10 China ferry disaster
A woman is helped after being pulled out by divers from a sunken ship in Jianli, Hubei province
2/10 China ferry disaster
A woman is helped as she is sent to hospital after being pulled out by a diver from the sunken ship in Jianli, Hubei province
3/10 China ferry disaster
Rescuers work on the overturned passenger ship, which capsizes on Yangtze River, Hubei Province
4/10 China ferry disaster
Relatives of passengers on the ship that sank at Jianli section of Yangtze River in Hubei province, cry as they wait for news at an arranged hotel, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province
5/10 China ferry disaster
A man, accompanied by his aunt, grieves for his missing parents outside a closed travel agency which participated in organising the tragic Yangtze River tour, in Shanghai
6/10 China ferry disaster
Rescue workers search on a sunken ship in the Jianli section of Yangtze River, Hubei province
7/10 China ferry disaster
Chinese rescue teams head out to search for survivors of a passenger ship carrying more than 450 people which sunk in the Yangtze river, triggering a rescue effort hampered by strong winds and heavy rain off Jianli in China's Hubei province
8/10 China ferry disaster
Rescue workers carry a boat as they conduct a search
9/10 China ferry disaster
Paramilitary policemen assemble to get ready to travel to Hubei province for rescue operations after a ship sank in the Jianli section of the Yangtze River, at a port in Chongqing
10/10 China ferry disaster
China's Premier Li Keqiang (R) looks at a map as he discusses with experts on a rescue plan, on his plane en route to the site where a ship sank in the Jianli section of Yangtze River, Hubei province
Relatives of those who were travelling aboard the ship have been protesting in Jianli for more information about the disaster.
Xia Yunchen, 70, whose sister and brother-in-law were travelling on the ship, told reporters that she wanted an investigation into the disaster because some family members doubted whether it was caused by the bad weather, according to Reuters.
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has promised an investigation into what caused the disaster.
The captain and chief engineer of the boat, both of whom survived, have been detained for questioning by the police.Reuse content