Footage shown by state television showed that one side of the ship was lifted above the water. It was expected to be raised and put back in the normal position during the course of the day.

The side that has emerged shows 'Eastern Star' in Chinese character on the hull. The search and rescue team started to right the capsized cruise ship at 8 PM last night, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The ship has been hoisted by cranes capable of lifting the whole vessel and set it upright. Experts in diving, recovery, relief and ship design from across the country are on the spot to provide support, state- run news agency said.

Meanwhile, the death toll in one of China's worst maritime disasters reached 82 today after rescuers found five more bodies. Only 14 people were rescued alive while more than 350 still missing in the capsize of the ship that was carrying 456 people. A number of passengers were also believed to have drowned or washed away by river current.

Two salvage ships with massive cranes were deployed for lifting the 2,200-tonne ship. Following the process of lifting, the ship was being brought to its original position to enable rescue teams search all parts of the vessel to look for survivors and pull out the remaining dead bodies. Over 1,200 relatives of the missing people were brought here after protests as they restlessly waited for news about their dear ones.

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