Bangkok, Dec 21 (EFE).- At least six crew members of the Thai Navy ship that sank Sunday have died, while the search operation for 23 missing at sea in the Gulf of Thailand continued Wednesday.
Authorities Tuesday night confirmed the increase in the death toll through social media, after reporting hours before that the emergency personnel found four bodies and rescued two crew members alive after more than two days at sea.
As the military authorities said Tuesday, some of the crew members of the HTMS Sukhothai corvette jumped into the water without a life jacket when the warship capsized.
The head of the Navy, Choengchai Chomchoengpaet, told the media they had launched an investigation to determine what happened, including reports about the lack of life jackets for everyone on the ship.
The navy is hoping to find more survivors during the intense search-and-rescue mission that has been ongoing since the sinking of the Sukhothai, which was carrying 105 people, after authorities corrected the figure Tuesday.
Four navy ships and several helicopters and planes searched the waters near Prachuap Khiri Khan province, southwest of Bangkok, where before midnight Sunday the corvette, in service since 1987, sank 37 kilometers offshore due to a strong storm.
According to preliminary investigations, heavy rains caused water to enter the engine room, which caused power outages – both in the main and auxiliary engines – and caused the crew to lose control of the ship.
On its social media, the navy published a video of the moment the corvette sank, as well as photographs of the rescue of the crew, in which all of them are seen wearing life jackets in an inflatable raft.
The capture shows the Sukhothai, built in the United States, tilted due to the strong waves, while another frame – taken with a night camera – capturing the moment when the bow of the ship and a turret protrude above the waterline.
This is the first sinking of a Thai warship since World War II, when the HTMS Samui sank near Malaysia after being torpedoed by a US submarine, killing 31 sailors, the armed forces said. EFE