The owners of an iconic Hong Kong floating restaurant that made headlines around the world after reports emerged it had sunk at sea, appeared Thursday to walk-back earlier claims it was beyond salvageable, insisting the vessel "was still in the waters" near the Paracel Islands, as calls grow for a full investigation into the incident.

Jumbo Kingdom -- a 260-foot (80 meters), three-story restaurant styled after a Chinese imperial palace -- encountered "adverse conditions" last weekend while being towed through the South China Sea. "Water soon entered before it began to tip," its owners initially said in a statement Monday.

CNN's Maggie Hiufu Wong and Jessie Yeung contributed reporting.

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