Hong Kong's iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant capsized while it was being towed away to a different location in the South China Sea on Saturday.

The Jumbo restaurant functioned for nearly 50 years before it sank into the deep sea, its parent company Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said in a statement.

The restaurant had been closed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It had become a financial burden for its owners as its maintenance required millions of dollars. It even had to lay off all its staff.

It was being moved to a lower-cost, undisclosed location so its maintenance could be continued, but it capsized while it was passing the Parcel Islands in the South China Sea. According to a BBC report, the restaurant had served more than 3 million people over the last 48 years.

"Despite the efforts of the towing company responsible for the trip to rescue the vessel, unfortunately it capsized on Sunday," said the company. It added that it was "very saddened by the incident." However, no one was harmed during the incident.

The company said that it is highly unlikely that an effort will be made to salvage its wreckage due to the depth of the sea at the point where it sank. "The water depth at the scene is over 1,000m [3,300ft], making it extremely difficult to carry out salvage works," it said.

The restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour was constructed in 1976 by Stanley Ho Hung-sun, a casino tycoon in Macau. It resembles a Chinese imperial palace and was famous for its Cantonese cuisine and seafood dishes.

Its guests included Queen Elizabeth II and Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. It has even been featured in movies over the years, including Jackie Chan's 1985 feature "The Protector," the James Bond movie "The Man With The Golden Gun," and "Infernal Affairs II" in 2003.

The lawmakers in Hong Kong had even called for the government to bail out the restaurant after it ran into financial trouble due to COVID-19. But Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, rejected the calls stating that the government had no plans to invest taxpayers' money into the restaurant.

The Jumbo restaurant in 1985. Spielvogel For a gallery of some more of my uploaded pictures see: here. All images can be used free of charge. Alle Bilder können kostenfrei verwendet werden., CC0, via Wikimedia Commons