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New Zealand

Sunken Thai Navy ship: Rescuers find bodies of 6 sailors

HTMS Sukhothai sank Sunday night with 105 crew on board.
Photo: Twitter / Royal Thai Navy

Rescuers recovered the bodies of six crew members from a sunken Thai warship off the southeastern coast of the country, the navy said.

A dead sailor and one survivor were found on Tuesday as military teams scoured the waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

The search for 23 missing sailors continues. A total of 76 crew members were rescued, the Navy said.

HTMS Sukhothai Crashed Sunday night with 105 crew on board After losing power in a storm.

The Thai Navy and Air Force spent two days searching for survivors, deploying four naval vessels carrying hundreds of officers and several helicopters and unmanned drones to scan 50 square kilometers of water.

“The latest person was found 41 hours after the ship sank and he was alive. We will continue,” said Admiral Chonlathis Navanugraha, chief of naval staff.

Navy commanders have previously suggested that the search party would have only two days to find anyone alive, given the amount of time spent at sea.

Several sailors have already been found, in some cases exhausted and unconscious. Not all missing persons wear life jackets.

“We found a man with a life buoy…he was floating in the water for 10 hours,” HTMS Kuraburi captain Krapich Korawie Papawit told Reuters.

He added that the man was still conscious and had a minor head injury and “his eyes hurt from being exposed to the seawater.”

A handout photo taken on December 19, 2022 shows survivors being carried out on stretchers at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield in Rayong province.  Search and rescue operations continue in the Gulf of Thailand after the sinking of HTMS Sukhothai.

Sailors who survived the sinking are carried out on stretchers at the Royal Thai Naval Air Station U-Tapao in Rayong province, Thailand. Several survivors were found, in some cases exhausted and unconscious.
Photo: AFP / Handouts / Royal Thai Navy

Other sailors were found in life rafts after jumping from the sinking ship. Photos and videos shared by the Navy on Twitter show survivors being wrapped in blankets and taken to hospitals.

Navy officials initially said there were 106 people on board, but revised that number to 105 on Tuesday.

HTMS Sukhothai, a 76m corvette, crashed on the second day of its routine patrol. The Navy said water flooded the hull and then the electrical room, cutting off power.

A dramatic photo posted on the Navy’s Twitter account shows the ship listed on its starboard side before sinking at around 23:30 local time on Sunday.

Other naval vessels were quickly alerted and sent to assist, but only the HTMS Crabli frigate reached the boats before they sank.

It is not yet known what caused the ship to flood and why the sailors were forced to jump into the water.

The Thai Navy said it was the first time it had lost a vessel in such circumstances and would launch an investigation.

But Navy experts question how such a disaster could have struck a ship on a routine patrol.

“This is really unusual,” said David Letts, an associate professor at the Australian National University and an expert in naval law.

He noted that measures were taken to prevent flooding affecting central units such as the engine room.

“The ship is divided into compartments. We need a series of watertight doors starting from the upper deck so that the sea does not descend onto the ship itself.”

The fact that the disaster occurred at night meant that many sailors were likely asleep at the time, and the chaotic conditions forced crews to move to upper decks or release life rafts. It is possible that the protocol was subverted.

The warship was commissioned in 1987 and was built in the United States by a local shipbuilder, the United States Naval Institute said.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/481182/thai-navy-ship-sinking-rescuers-find-bodies-of-six-sailors Sunken Thai Navy ship: Rescuers find bodies of 6 sailors

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