Thai navy searching for 31 missing sailors after ship sank

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BANGKOK — Thai navy ships and helicopters searched Monday for greater than 30 sailors nonetheless lacking greater than 17 hours after their warship sank in tough seas within the Gulf of Thailand.

As of Monday afternoon, 75 sailors from the HTMS Sukhothai corvette had been rescued and 31 had been nonetheless lacking, the navy stated. The excessive waves that precipitated the accident had lessened since Sunday night time’s sinking, however had been nonetheless excessive sufficient to hazard small boats, the navy stated.

A rescued crew member interviewed by Thai PBS tv stated he needed to float within the sea for 3 hours earlier than he was rescued. He stated the ship was buffeted by waves 3 meters (10 toes) excessive because it was sinking Sunday night time, complicating rescue efforts.

“The waves are nonetheless excessive and we can not seek for them from the horizontal line. We’ve to fly the helicopters and seek for them from a hen’s eye view as an alternative,” navy spokesman Adm. Pokkrong Monthatphalin instructed Thai PBS.

Eleven of the rescued sailors had been being handled in a hospital. The navy denied a neighborhood media report that one loss of life had been confirmed, saying the fatality was from an accident involving one other boat.

Sturdy winds blew seawater onto the HTMS Sukhothai and knocked out its electrical system Sunday night, making management of the ship troublesome. The navy dispatched three frigates and two helicopters with cell pumping machines to attempt to help the disabled ship by eradicating the seawater, however couldn’t achieve this due to the sturdy winds.

The lack of energy allowed extra seawater to circulate into the vessel, inflicting it to record and sink.

Thailand’s Meteorological Division had issued a climate advisory for the final space only a few hours earlier than the accident, saying that waves within the Gulf of Thailand had been anticipated to be 2-4 meters (7-14 toes) excessive with thundershowers. It instructed that every one ships “proceed with warning” and warned small craft to not go to sea till Tuesday.

The Sukhothai was inbuilt Tacoma, Washington, and commissioned in 1987. With a most displacement of 959 tons and a size of 76.8 meters (252 toes), it’s about midsize for a corvette, a kind of armed vessel that sometimes is used for patrolling shut offshore waters.

The warship had been on patrol 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the pier at Bangsaphan district in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Pokkrong stated the ship had been on an everyday patrol to help any fishing boats needing assist.

“Our prime precedence now’s to rescue all of the sailors. We are going to plan to have the ship salvaged later,” he stated. The search was being performed in a 16-square kilometer (6.2-square mile) space across the web site of the sinking.

Whereas northern and central Thailand are seeing their coldest temperatures of the 12 months, far southern Thailand has been experiencing storms and flooding in latest days.


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