Disasters & Accidents

Search continues for missing people from sunken Thai Navy ship

Bangkok, Dec 20 (EFE).- Thai authorities continued Tuesday with the search and rescue operation to locate 30 missing crew members after the weekend sinking of a navy warship in the Gulf of Thailand.

Several navy boats and aircraft were participating in the operation, running since Sunday night, and 75 crew members had been rescued as of publication time.

The last rescue, which occurred Monday night, was that of a person found unconscious while floating in the sea thanks to their life jacket, authorities reported.

The HTMS Sukhothai, a corvette ship carrying 106 people at the time of the incident, sank just before midnight on Sunday some 37 kilometers off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, southwest of Bangkok, due to a storm that caused water to enter the engine room.

Preliminary reports said the storm caused the ship to tilt to the left, leading to water entering a side exhaust pipe and causing power outages to both the main and auxiliary engines.

It said the bailing system was also disabled, causing the crew to lose the vessel’s control.

“It is a chain of events that lead to the sinking of the ship,” said the provisional report published on social media, adding that authorities hoped to gather more information to determine what happened.

Another navy ship, the HTMS Kraburi, was the first to arrive at the scene of the incident to rescue some of the crew, some of whom sustained injuries.

The navy published on social media a video of the sinking of the corvette and photos of the crew’s rescue, all dressed in life jackets and in an inflatable raft.

Images show the Sukhothai, built in the United States and in use since 1987, leaning to port among the strong waves, while another frame – taken with a night camera – shows 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


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